Responding to the news the government was abandoning plans to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products, Glenis Willmott MEP, health spokesperson for Labour in the European Parliament, said:
“It is disgraceful the government is dropping plans for standardising tobacco packaging. All the evidence suggests this is a simple but effective measure which makes smoking less attractive to children and young people. Tobacco kills one in two of those who use it, and we must not allow another generation of smokers to be recruited by attractive, colourful and misleading branding.
“This week MEPs voted for tough new measures, including covering 75% of the cigarette packs with graphic health warnings and banning long, slim, lipstick-style packages which are marketed to young women. We also voted to allow EU countries to remove all branding, and I’m bitterly disappointed the UK will not be taking the lead in Europe by introducing this measure.
“My proposals for EU-wide standardised packaging were defeated after heavy and misleading lobbying by the tobacco industry. I know lobbying has been intense both in Brussels and Westminster, and sadly it looks like the UK government has caved into it. I would ask Mr Cameron whether other interests have taken precedence over reducing the 100,000 deaths caused each year in the UK by tobacco.”
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Notes to Editors
1. For more information on the EU tobacco directive, see here: http://www.eurolabour.org.uk/tobacco-directive-cigarettes-packaging-menthol-slims
2. For more on the questions David Cameron must answer over the u-turn, see here: http://labourlist.org/2013/07/jon-trickett-writes-to-cameron-and-asks-him-to-stop-dodging-questions-on-crosby-and-the-tobacco-lobby/