The British Government intends to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to improve public health and reduce the number of child smokers.
With this move, the government wants tobacco firms to ban branding on cigarette packets and use the space to display only graphic health warnings.
Britain is expected to be the second nation in the world and the first in Europe to launch cigarettes in mandatory plain packaging.
The draft regulations in relation to the government’s intention to ban branding on cigarette packs would come in April 2014.
As per the government’s review conducted in November 2013, the standardised cigarette packaging would raise public health concerns and prevent children from smoking.
Tobacco firms disagree with the British Government’s rule, arguing that plain packaging may speed-up illegally smuggled cigarettes in Britain.
The firms also argue that the introduction of standardised packaging for cigarette does not have much impact on smoking rates in Australia, which initiated the move in 2011.
Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said that every year approximately 200,000 children of ages in between 11 and 15 start smoking in the UK.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimation, tobacco smoking causes six million deaths annually and by 2030, the number could rise beyond eight million.
Australia is said to be the first country that introduced a law compelling tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain olive green packaging with health-warning images, while New Zealand and Ireland are also planning to launch plain packaging.
Image: Cigarette brand with warning message. Photo: courtesy of Lanfear’s Bane at en.wikipedia.