Guest blog by Gail Beer, Director of Operations, 2020health
Today the government has released its long awaited Consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco products: summary report, revealing that the government is delaying a decision on standardised packaging of cigarettes until the emerging impacts of this policy in Australia are measured.
This is a huge disappointment for those of us who have campaigned for standardised packaging and the potential benefits it could bring for smokers. Another generation of children may be entering a world of branded cigarettes. We have come a long way in developing a society where smoking is not accepted as the norm.
As Kevin Barron MP stated at our debate on the standardised packaging of cigarettes:
“It is unacceptable that we allow this product, legal or not to be promoted in these ways when it’s the end cause for 50% of its users of premature death.”
If this country has a serious commitment to public health we must not just consider the feelings of those who smoke, but also those who don’t smoke, and those we wish to prevent from smoking.
There is nothing to fear from standardised packaging; it is not the slippery slope to alcohol and chocolate. These are spurious arguments. Britain should lead the way, in doing as much as we can to deter people from smoking. If cigarettes were invented today, they would not be allowed on to the market.
As Kevin Barron also stated:
“A hundred thousand people a year in the UK are dying a premature death because of tobacco use, and we need to pass as many laws as we can that is going to limit that.”