Smokefree South West welcomes Government consultation on tobacco packaging
A Bristol-based smoking cessation service has today welcomed the launch today of the Government's consultation on tobacco packaging.
Smokefree South West says putting cigarettes and tobacco in plain packets is essential because - as advertising tobacco is banned in the UK - packaging is the tobacco industry's main promotional tool.
Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West, based on Whiteladies Road in Clifton, said that two thirds of smokers start before they are 18 and the vast majority while still teenagers.
She explained: "Big Tobacco knows this only too well and uses attractive packaging to help replace the 100,000 customers lost every year to smoking related diseases.
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"Smoking is an epidemic that affects children and moving tobacco products into standardised, plain packaging is designed to protect them; it is not about current smokers."
Earlier this year a campaign was launched at Bristol's M Shed to support proposals for tobacco to only be sold in “plain” packaging.
However, Bristol's Imperial Tobacco has said it will fight Government plans to sell cigarettes and tobacco in plain packets.
A spokesman for the firm said it had a fundamental right to differentiate its brands from those of its competitors.
He added: "Tobacco packaging has never been identified as a reason why people start to smoke or continue to smoke. We are particularly concerned about the impact plain packaging will have on illicit trade."