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Standard packs news could protect children and save lives

The government has announced an independent review of standard packs for cigarettes, which would mean they could be introduced before the 2015 general election.

FPH Vice President for Policy, Dr John Middleton said: "This is great news, particularly for the 570 children who start smoking every day and who would be protected by the introduction of standard packs. The government has listened to public health experts and we welcome this positive step towards protecting children.

"Whilst there is widespread public support for standardised cigarette packaging, there are two main myths about it that we need to tackle. Firstly, there's nothing plain about a standard cigarette pack. They are very visual and highly designed.

"Secondly, there is no good reason for standard packs to be easier to smuggle and counterfeit. Standard packs have all the key security features of branded ones. In fact, a senior HM Revenue and Customs official told MPs it was very doubtful that standard packs would be easier to counterfeit.

"Given this, we don’t see any barriers to implementing standard packs legislation as soon as possible. There should be no delay to the implementation of public health policy - for cigarettes, alcohol as well as child sex and relationship education - that is based on solid evidence.”

Written: 28/11/2013 , last modified: 24/12/2013