Responding to the news that the government is to ensure that a vote takes place on plain cigarette packaging before the next election, Professor Jane Dacre, President of the Royal College of Physicians said:
We warmly welcome this announcement. Evidence is clear that 600 children begin smoking every day in the UK, and we know that they are susceptible to branding of cigarettes. This announcement provides real progress in the fight to reduce children's exposure to tobacco branding, making the marketing of tobacco products much less effective.
Along with the vote earlier in the year in favour of legislation to introduce a ban on smoking in cars with children, which the RCP called for as long ago as April 2010, this news will start the process of taking smoking completely out of children’s lives.
Supported by the strong evidence from the introduction of plain pack in Australia, the RCP has spoken for a number of years on the potential public health benefits plain packs could have in the UK.
This is an important public health measure and MPs now need to vote in favour of plain packaging on tobacco products. Smoking related diseases still kill thousands of patients each week in our NHS – that is why there can be no further delay on this vitally important decision.
We are one step closer towards a tobacco-free UK.