Standard tobacco packaging still being considered but is not a “silver bullet,” says health department

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 08 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6751
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

Proposals for England to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products are still under “active consideration” by the government but are not the only possible solution to reduce smoking, MPs have been told.

During a passionate two and a half hour debate on standardised packaging of tobacco products, held in the House of Commons on 7 November, MPs argued about the imperative for and the possible overestimated benefits from such packaging being adopted.

The Department of Health held a consultation on standardised packaging between April and August of 2012,1 and in July this year it announced that it wanted to wait for more evidence on the effects of such packaging on tobacco consumption before deciding whether to adopt the policy.2

Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East and secretary of the all party group on smoking and health, opening the debate, said, “At the moment there is still an attractive promotional aspect of tobacco, which …

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