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Plain packaging: consumers can still make a difference

Fri 30th May, 2014

Forest is urging opponents of plain packaging to write to the prime minister declaring their opposition to the measure, which could be included in the Queen's Speech on June 4. 

A website, No Prime Minister, has been launched that features a letter to David Cameron.

"There is no credible evidence that children start smoking because of the packaging, or that 'plain' packaging will deter children from smoking," it reads.

"A four-month government consultation in 2012 resulted in over 665,000 responses, with a substantial majority (427,888) opposed to the policy. 

"Before pressing ahead with legislation I urge you to wait until government has studied the impact of the tobacco display ban, which will not be fully implemented until 2015, and the introduction of larger health warnings which are being introduced in 2016 as part of the EU's revised Tobacco Products Directive."

According to the website, "Standardised packaging is the start of a slippery slope that will eventually lead to other potentially unhealthy products, including alcohol, sugary drinks and fast food, being sold in dull, uniform packaging."

Simon Clark, director of Forest which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign and is responsible for the No Prime Minister website, commented: 

"The argument that plain packs will stop children smoking is based not on hard evidence but on conjecture."
Urging retailers and consumers to write to the prime minister, Clark said:

"A lot of people are under the misapprehension that plain packaging is a done deal. It's not. 

"There is still everything to play for so people must make their views known to government, and the prime minister in particular.

"If you feel strongly about this issue act now. It's not too late to make a difference."

To write to David Cameron visit www.primeminister.org.uk

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