You might not notice it just yet, but the UK has become the latest country to introduce plain, standardised packaging of cigarettes, along with Australia and France. The switch follows a landmark 'yes' vote in the House of Commons just over a year ago that saw MPs from all parties take a stand against tobacco marketing. And following a final failed legal challenge tobacco companies are no longer allowed to manufacture glitzy packs that evidence shows act as a 'silent salesman' to children. Here's how packs will change:
With the big tobacco companies so focussed on attracting young smokers through pack design, plain packaging is a key step for any country to introduce in the battle to lessen the consequences of smoking to the health service and society in general. Too many people are needlessly dying prematurely because of smoking and too many young people are still being hooked - let's use the next few weeks to save lives and reduce the burden on our NHS.
As an ex-drinker, I still look at a bottle of Old Speckled Hen with feelings of nostalgia, as it links to a time when I was in a pub with friends after a hard day's work. Plain packaging will remove this link and (in my opinion) will undoubtedly lead to a drop in smoking rates.
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Why has it taken so long for the Government to reach this point? It has been years since the idea was first proposed and it was almost a year ago that MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of it. In that time, over 200,000 children would have smoked their first cigarette - the delay is inexcusable.
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