Tobacco packaging should be in Queen’s speech, say Labour MEPs

cig 2Labour MEPs have criticised the government’s decision to remove new laws on standardised tobacco packaging from the Queen’s speech.

Glenis Willmott, Leader of Labour MEPs and spokesperson on health, said, “We have to call the government’s commitment to public health into question.  They are willing to forge ahead with their disastrous reorganisation of the NHS, but will not take the simple measure of standardising tobacco packaging, which will greatly reduce the attractiveness of tobacco for the next generation.”

“Tobacco kills half of all its regular users, and the pack itself is the last place the industry has left to advertise its wares.  Some packaging designs are clearly aimed at young people, with young girls targeted by thin, pink, flowery boxes that look more like lipsticks.  Standardised packs would put an end to these marketing tactics.”

Linda McAvan MEP, the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the Tobacco Products Directive said, “The EU is revising its rules on tobacco and Labour MEPs want to introduce standardised packaging across Europe.  We are also pushing for large pictorial health warnings and a ban on flavourings.”

“Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the UK, the EU and across the world.  Australia, one of the world leaders in tobacco control, has already implemented standardised packaging and the UK is falling behind in the fight against tobacco.  We are disappointed the UK government has backed down, but Labour MEPs will continue to push for standardised packaging at EU level.”

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