Sefton’s Health and Wellbeing Board has welcomed the latest government announcement to make ‘plain’ packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products a priority.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison has pledged that a vote will be held on putting cigarettes in plain packets before the general election.
She also announced that a ban on smoking in private cars would come into force on October 1.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Chair of Sefton’s Health and Wellbeing board, said: “The board has supported standardised packaging for a long time and we know the North West’s public are backing it too with 64% calling for the measure to be introduced. The regulations will need to be passed into law and we are hopeful the vast majority of MPs and Peers will vote for them.”
Regulations would mean cigarettes and tobacco products would have standardised packaging – a brown exterior and white interior – with only brand or variant name allowed along the health warnings and marks to prevent counterfeits.
Dr Janet Atherton, Sefton’s Director of Public Health, said: “Standardised packaging will be a positive move for Public Health, particularly the role it could play in helping prevent the uptake of smoking by children. Smoking still remains the single biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK so we cannot be complacent, we still need to keep up our efforts on tobacco control and an important part of this is standardised packaging.”
Preventing cigarettes being sold in glitzy packaging will help protect the next generation of young people from starting smoking.
Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Older People and Health, said: “Sefton supports plain packaging because we know, from a health perspective, that fully branded tobacco packaging, can increase the appeal of the pack, the product and smoking. It can mislead consumers about how harmful the product is, and distract from the on-pack government health warnings. We need to press ahead without delay to ensure that this vital measure is introduce as soon as possible because two thirds of current smokers started when they were children and half of all lifetime smokers will die from a smoking related disease.”
The proposed regulations on packaging would only apply in England and would take effect from May 2016.
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