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Standardised Packs: Time to act

On Wednesday 11th March 2015 MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of the regulations to implement standardised tobacco packaging. 367 MPs voted in favour of the measure and just 113 against. The regulations were approved by the House of Lords on 16th March and the measure will take effect in May 2016. The measure will take effect from 20th May 2016 at the same time as the EU Tobacco Products Directive comes into force which introduces new rules including, for example, on the size and placement of the health warnings.   

Member organisations of the Smokefree Action Coalition have pledged their support for standardised packaging. See SFAC briefing on standard packaging regulations.

Hundreds of children start to smoke every day. This is not a party political issue; it is a vital matter of child protection and public health. Putting cigarettes in standard packs will stop the pack being used to promote the product and help make smoking history for our children.

plain pack compared to normal packs
How standardised packs look like compared to traditional packs.

Key points about standardised packaging

• Smoking is a childhood addiction not an adult choice1
• Hundreds of children start smoking each day2
• Half of all lifelong smokers die from their addiction – that’s over 100,000 people last year in the UK3
• Cigarette packs are attractive and misleading, especially to children4,5

• The public support plain, standard packaging6
• The public health community support plain standard packaging7
• There is cross party support at Westminster for standard packs8.

• Standard packs are cheap and easy to implement9
• Australia already has standard packs. Retailers have found it easy to implement10,11 and there is no evidence it will increase smuggling4,12.

Press releases and letters
- Press release (consultation), 26 June 2014
- Press release (Chantler), 03 April 2014
- Press release, (Children and Family Act) 29 January 2014
- Major Win for Public Health as Government Goes Ahead With Standard Packs Legislation, ASH Press release, 28 November 2013
- Press release, 12 July 2013
- Media advisory: Has the Government Caved in to Tobacco Lobbying?
- Press release, 08 May 2013
- letter to the Prime Minister, 08 May 2013
- letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, 08 May 2013
- letter to the Health Secretary, 08 May 2013
- Press release, 02 May 2013
- letter to the Prime Minister, 2 May 2013

Standardised packaging in parliament
- Government announcement on 28th November 2013 (Hansard)
- Debate in House of Commons, 28th November 2013 (Hansard)
- Debate in House of Lords, 28th November 2013 (Hansard)
- Children and Families Bill (pdf)
- Amendment on regulation of retail packaging etc of tobacco products - Clause 57B (tabled 17th December 2013)
- Debate in the House of Lords, 29th January 2014 (Hansard)
- Debate in the House of Commons, 10th February 2014 (Hansard)


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