News & Comment

Huge protest against plain packaging and excessive regulation

Wed 8th August, 2012

Over 235,000 people have signed a petition against plain packaging of tobacco.

The petition, organised by the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, was delivered today to the Department of Health.

Standardised packaging of tobacco is the subject of a public consultation that closes on Friday [10th August].

The Hands Off Our Packs campaign was launched in February by Forest which opposes the idea.

Head of the campaign Angela Harbutt said:

"Plain packaging is not about health. It’s about denormalising a legal product and stigmatising millions of consumers. 

"People aren't stupid. They know that if tobacco is sold in dull, drab packets then alcohol, fast food and fizzy drinks will also be targeted.

“Over two hundred thousand people have spoken and the message is clear. Plain packaging is not welcome in Britain.”

She added:

“We were overwhelmed with requests from retailers, packaging companies and private individuals asking for petition pads and postcards. 

"The result is one of the largest ever protests against excessive regulation and the nanny state.”

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“There is no evidence that standardised packaging will have any health benefits. Advocates base their arguments not on facts but on speculation.

"This and other petitions against plain packaging represent a huge setback for anti-tobacco campaigners who argue that the measure has overwhelming public support.

“Given the strength of opposition to plain packaging, from retailers and shop workers to police officers and consumers, we urge the Government to reject this ill-conceived idea.”

See: Tobacco campaigners hand packaging petition to Department of Health (The Grocer, August 8, 2012), 235,000 sign petition against plain tobacco packs (Packaging News, August 6, 2012)

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