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Scotland to introduce standardised packaging

16 July 2013

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Scotland has committed to bringing in standardised tobacco packs in order to stop young people from taking up smoking.

The news comes after Health Secretary Jeremy postponed a decision on introducing the scheme in England until more information was available. 

Hunt said that finding out figures from the introduction of standardised packaging in Australia would enable the government to make a better decision. 

However, Scotland’s Minister for Health Michael Matheson said moving back the deadline was “disappointing”. 

He said: “The Scottish Government remains committed to introducing standardised packaging, given the strong evidence to support the impact it will have on preventing young people from starting to smoke.”

Hunt said: “Obviously we take very seriously the potential for standardised packaging to reduce smoking rates, but in light of the differing views, we have decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured, and then we will make a decision in England.

“This decision is an important one and whilst we keep it under review, we’ll be continuing to implement our existing plan to reduce smoking rates through ending the display of tobacco in all shops, running national behaviour change campaigns to encourage smokers to quit and through supporting local authorities to provide effective stop smoking services.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) believes the Department of Health has “has given in to the pressure from the tobacco industry”.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, BMA director of professional activities said: “Evidence shows that packaging is a key marketing tool for the tobacco industry and an influence on younger people who start smoking. 

“As doctors we see firsthand the devastating effects of tobacco addiction and therefore we urge the Government to reconsider and introduce legislation forcing the industry to adopt standard packaging and help put an end to a life-long addiction that kills and destroys health.”