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  • Health & Medicine

A sad day for public health – standard packs and the path ahead

by Chris Woodhall | Analysis

9 May 2013

38 comments 38 comments

Cigarette packs
An example selection of currently available tobacco packs

The 2010 film The King’s Speech was a national triumph. So at Cancer Research UK we’re dismayed to have to report that we’re not exactly rolling out the red carpet for yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

In fact, quite the opposite.

The Queen’s Speech – which outlined the Government’s focus for the next year – has, shockingly, left plans to put tobacco products in plain, standardised packaging, on the cutting room floor.

The government has thus failed to deliver on a policy that would help protect children from a product that has no sJoin our Plain Packaging Campaignafe level of consumption.

So today, nine months since its consultation closed in August 2012, we’re left hanging, still waiting for the government to make a clear statement of its intentions.

In that time more than 150,000 children have started smoking – the beginning of an addiction that kills half its long-term users.

In light of this disappointing decision, we wanted to outline, clearly and simply, which organisations support this measure. Also we thought it worth exposing the vested interests of its opponents. This is all worth knowing, because this fight isn’t over; this is not “The End”.

A quick recap

Along with scores of other health organisations, Cancer Research UK has been campaigning for new laws to put all tobacco products in plain, standardised packs.

This isn’t about discouraging current smokers. It’s about discouraging children from starting – something the evidence shows standard packs will be effective in doing. This is because tobacco packs are the last remaining ‘public space’ left for the tobacco industry to advertise their brands.

As you might expect, the tobacco industry has vehemently opposed this idea – opposition that flies in the face of widespread support from across society.

On the one hand…

Protecting the public health of its citizens should be a top priority for any government.

There is clear support for standardised tobacco packs from the public, and from the public health and welfare community at both national and international levels.

Let’s look at who’s backing the campaign:

The World Health Organisation is clear that marketing of tobacco products “encourages current smokers to smoke more, decreases their motivation to quit, and urges youth to start” – and make no mistake, the branding on cigarette packs is marketing.

Our standard packs campaign was a Mumsnet feature campaign in 2012 because parents believe it is important to protect their children from tobacco marketing.

The Trading Standards Institute, EU anti-fraud office representative and Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner have dismissed tobacco industry claims that standard packs will increase the illicit trade.  

…but on the other:

In keeping with years of deceit about the deadly harms and addictiveness of their products, the tobacco industry has financed a number of third-party organisations to oppose the policy.

Throughout their opposition to standard packs, industry and pro-tobacco groups have relied on facts and figures drawn from several key sources, leaving the declaration of vested interests for others to discover. So here are just a few:

  • KPMG have produced several reports that claim the illicit tobacco trade is growing: these reports were paid for by the world’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris International. But they contradict the Government’s own figures.
  • Transcrime have also produced reports on the illicit tobacco trade: these are also funded by Philip Morris, and report strikingly similar findings
  • The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest), are a pro-smoking group that has opposed any legislation intended to reduce smoking rates: they are supported by British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial Tobacco.
  • Forest has, in turn, used their own single-issue front-group Hands Off Our Packs (HOOPS) to oppose standard packs: they receive the same veiled support from BAT, JTI and Imperial tobacco.
  • The Intellectual Property (IP) firm, Rouse, have written articles which look at the implications for brands’ intellectual property: last week the firm amended their client list, removing Japan International Tobacco, but helpfully staff biographies list tobacco clients among them.
  • The Common Sense Alliance includes many members who have spoken out against standard packs: among them, former-police officers who had given evidence to the House of Lords. The Observer reported the Common Sense Alliance is funded by BAT – something the former officers failed to declare.

In July 2012, JTI announced that they would be committing £2m to a campaign opposing standard packs, placing several adverts in national publications throughout and beyond the consultation period. To date the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that two separate ads are misleading and unsubstantiated”.

A quick note on smuggling: one of the most persistent and widely aired myths in the industry’s campaign. As we heard from a current Trading Standards Officer on this very blog, “plain packs won’t encourage smuggling”.

The illicit cigarette market has been falling since its peak in the early 2000s, yet the tobacco industry claims the illicit trade is ‘booming’ (which a parliamentary report noted is “contrary to the available statistics”).

Even their representatives (the Tobacco Manufacturers Association) accept that the consumption of illicit tobacco in the UK is falling.

When you look at the whole package, this collaboration, and extent of this deception is like something out of a Hollywood script.

What happens next?

Although the Government missed the chance to announce standard packs in the Queen’s speech, there are still opportunities to introduce standard packs legislation in this session and let Parliament decide.

So we need to move fast. Email your MP today and ask them to do the right thing: introduce standardised cigarette packs and put the health of our children ahead of tobacco industry profits.

If all of us stand united in the fight against cancer, our voices will be louder and clearer than any campaign the tobacco industry can mount.

The irony of it all

The irony of this all is that shiny and glamorous branded tobacco packets are the perfect metaphor for the tobacco industry’s tactics throughout this campaign.

Their reports and websites look the part; they slap a logo on them, and spend huge amounts to promote them, to as wide an audience as possible. But when you open the page, much like opening a pack of cigarettes, all you find inside is a toxic concoction that flatters to deceive.

It is easy to be frustrated, agitated and angry with the government’s failure to back up a commitment to reducing preventable mortality, by ignoring a measure that will reduce the appeal of an addiction that causes one in every four cancer deaths in the UK.

In this regal speech, which laid out this government priorities, it appears that a supporting cast of tobacco industry proxies have won the day.

This stuttering progress can be overcome, and we will urge the government to ignore the profit-driven interests of the tobacco industry, and instead move to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

Ultimately, we think this is a policy for which they would be celebrated, resonating with the assured words of King George VI that ‘the highest of distinctions is service to others’.

Chris

  • Chris Woodhall is a tobacco control officer at Cancer Research UK


    Comments

  • anita drewett
    14 May 2013

    Why on earth does anyone think that A PACKET makes someone want to do it – ’tis the fricking parents – I am one of those fricking parents who smoked in 1965 at the age of 10 because my parents did – 2 out of my 3 children smoke SO – NOTHING TO DO WITH SODDING PACKAGING – I smoked thru’ all 3 pregnancies – I didn’t know it was crap in those days – no-one was told – my daughter knows now that she a) has to give up and b) especially before she gets pregnant xxxxx OK we have been told, but it has destroyed all the pubs in the land – Isn’t anyone else fed up with being told how to live their lives?????

  • junican
    12 May 2013

    @ JDR on May 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm.

    “Smoking in the UK kills more people than overdoses, murder, road accidents, suicide and HIV put together and causes 4 out of 5 lung cancer cases.”

    No it does not.

    There…. You see? Your statement is as easily denied as it is stated.
    Where is your physical proof that smoking causes any disease at all? There simply is none. If you say that epidemiological studies prove your statement, then you should read up about the McTear versus Imperial Tobacco Case in Scotland (ended 2005). There, Tobacco Control had every opportunity to bring their evidence before the court. They failed to do so. In fact, they were invited to do so but refused.

  • Brian
    12 May 2013

    I read somewhere that 80% of people with lung cancer were non smokers. I’ve no idea whether that is true.

    I do remember an American doctor on the news some years ago, saying that because of the emphasis on smoking, it was difficult to find out what caused lung cancer in non smokers.

  • reply
    PJ
    12 May 2013

    One of the reports is here: http://lungcancer.about.com/b/2012/11/29/why-anti-smoking-campaigns-arent-enough-to-eliminate-lung-cancer-deaths.htm
    Can’t be any clearer than that can it but CRUK and their own praiseworthy’s cannot bear to publish such truths!
    Nobody says that all cancers are caused by smoking but the junk science does its very best to include as many different types of cancer as possible into the “smoking dunnit” syndrome.
    As for the letter, I have no idea how to put it on here but the part that matters is here (word verbatim): “When the public donate to us, we pledge that donations will strictly go towards reasearching cancer”. I think that statement is clear enough JDR, don’t you?
    What part of £468,000 on lobbying Government for Plain Packaging (and being part of a totally corrupt campaign) does that apply as “strictly towards researching cancer”?
    CRUK no doubt started out with the best of intentions but they have now simply become a political tool for other hate quangos such as ASH.
    Funny how a Parkinsons Disease charity has reinforced smoking as retarding the disease: http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/parkinson.htm
    M19 makes a very valid point indeed regarding Obesity which costs the NHS 2.5 x’s the cost of smoking related diseases and what imput to Treasury coffers do the obese make in comparison to smokers £10.5bn per annum?
    You carry on with your silly tirades against those who choose to smoke and thus pay for the NHS but when you have eradicated all smoking/smokers in this country it will will be no good crying over the fact that this country is irrevocably broke. Simply look at unemployment figures in the EU to see what is happening thanks to smoking bans & intolerance!

  • Train Stationer
    12 May 2013

    In a stratified study of 76,000 mineworkers published last year, of which 49% were smokers, the incidence of lung cancer was found to be 7 x greater in non-smokers

  • Dick Puddlecote
    10 May 2013

    I will have a bet with you right now, if you’ll take it. I suggest £100 but you can raise that if you like.

    You are using out-of-date government figures for your assertion that illicit trade isn’t increasing. I expect politicians already know the true *current* figures which is why they have recently held their first parliamentary enquiry into the subject.

    So, my bet is that when figures are finally presented by the ONS or any other govt institution (there is always a lag), that they will prove there has been a dramatic rise in illicit since last year’s budget. To win the bet for you, there only needs to be a stagnation or a reduction.

    So, how much money are you willing to back up your campaigning rhetoric with? ;)

  • Richard rendell
    10 May 2013

    Let’s put a health warning on everything it’ s about time we starting making decisions for our selves, there are so many things that affect our health, let’s make parents responsible for their children and not the state a waste of advertising and money. Be Resonsible for your own actions for once in your life

  • Ivan
    10 May 2013

    JDR makes a very important point in that CRUK is a real charity that relies on donations. However it is generally true that it does not make clear at point of donation that donors money may be used for political purposes or siphoned off to pay the likes of Deborah Arnott. I personally view that as dishonest.

    It doesn’t matter that only a small percentage of donations are used for advocacy. If that advocacy associates CRUK with a dirty authoritarian political campaign it tarnishes everyone associated with the charity including the talented researchers who actually do something useful.

  • JDR
    10 May 2013

    Good to see you have ignored the part about you being wrong about government funding!

    OK simply… Smoking in the UK kills more people than overdoses, murder, road accidents, suicide and HIV put together and causes 4 out of 5 lung cancer cases. Cancer Research UK have never said that smoking causes all cancers! You are just completely exaggerating/twisting anything that they do say! Before you comment on here please at least get your facts right. Also it would be great if you could upload this letter you have in front of you, seeing as the website is quite clear about what happens to donations… 80% of each £1 goes to research the rest is used on information nurses, a help line and lobbying policies THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER! They do amazing research without which many people including myself would not be alive today.

    If you loath the work of a charity trying to beat cancer and bring hope to millions of people, then don’t come on the website, don’t dedicate so much time to replying on their posts there are plenty of pro tobacco pages for you and your pals.

  • reply
    M19
    10 May 2013

    How many people does obesity kill in a year ….and sugar content in manufactured products…..CR-UK think they are the guardians of public health…they are not !!….no more subscriptions from me !!

  • JDR
    10 May 2013

    PJ CR-UK don’t receive any government funding, and the large majority of money is spent on research, with a small amount being used for information nurses, a help line and lobbying policies THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER! you can read more about it here since i’m sure you wouldn’t want to misquote would you?!

    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/frequently-asked-questions/our-finances/

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    JDR-I have a letter in front of me which categorically states that ALL donations go directly to RESEARCH. Now you tell me how small £468,000 is, when it is amassed from thousands of people who chuck a few spare bits of small change in the begging bowls thrust at them!
    The fact that Crook actually fund ASH & others is nothing but an insult to those very same people above merntioned.
    And then you hit the jackpot with “THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER”. Now YOU tell me and all the other people that don’t believe your bilge, if smoking rates are slowly declining yet cancer cases are constantly rising (889 per day at the moment-soon to be 899!) what are CROOK lobbying against smoking for when it is blatantly obvious that smoking is not the major cause of all these 200+ forms of cancer?
    Any ideas JDR?

  • Andrew Rolls
    10 May 2013

    But Gina………… The packaging issue IS PART of CRUK’s education incentive!
    I firmly believe in the proverb uttered by a Chinese educationalist many years ago……… “I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand.” And… before anyone shoots me down in flames….. I hasten to add that I’m NOT advocating that kids try smoking so that they will understand how bad it is for them, so much as the fact that non-smoking youngsters will hopefully be fascinated by, and handle and absorb, the messages on the packets of their parents, friends, or relatives! :-) Nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh? :-)
    CRUK……. Is an online petition worth considering, or has it been done already?
    – Andrew.

  • Gina
    10 May 2013

    If CRUK had an effective education policy in place, the packaging issue would be irrelevant.
    Tackling the obsession with fast food, sugary drinks plus the addictive lure of alcohol, smoking and drugs are key.

    Youngsters need self respect and self awareness to form a positive choice. They follow bad habits initiated by adults.

    Informative education and more positive role models would help. Encouraging a healthier lifestyle needs to be more appealing to youngsters. Opportunities for activities need to be affordable and interesting.

    Some will choose to smoke etc, but provided with the right type of venues, with activities, offering affordable good food choices might just keep others distracted.

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    Gina….. that is the most sensible post on here-congratulations! Clive Bates always said that education was the way forward for tobacco cessation yet that abominable woman, Deborah aArnott, came in with a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Tobacco usage ha already dwindled from 70% (1950’s) to around 25% (2005) through exactly those means but Arnott wnated to make a name for herself, thus conned Blairs gov’t into believing that SHS was more toxic than sarin gas.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/jul/19/health.healthandwellbeing). She alone has promoted cigarette smoking more than any other and has lived a ‘fat life’ on the back of the World health Organisations desire to eradicate smoking/smokers. As has been rightly pointed out on here by several ‘normal’ people, CRUK have been sucked into the political web of lies & deceit when they should have been spending the £433,000,000 they got last year on research-and that is why they will never get another penny from me again either!
    Kids see all this hype about hiding a product and promptly go out in search of this ‘forbidden fruit’ so all the good educational work that is done by some, is totally UNDONE by the likes of ASH, FRESH et al.
    These quangos should be removed from government support funding, they are (supposedly) charities so let’s see just how much they would receive from the general public! I’ll bet that suych as Arnott/Dockrell wouldn’t hang around to long when they realised the gravy train had been removed due to austerity measures!

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    Well, well, well, it would seem that another VERY prominent charity disagrees with the present status quo and a little bit more truth seeps out! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2322050/Eating-peppers-twice-week-reduce-risk-Parkinsons-Disease-THIRD.html
    It is definitely time to ban these wasteful quangos and redirect their funding to our glorious NHS !

  • reply
    Brian
    10 May 2013

    We have two daughters. when they were teenagers, we did not want them to start smoking, even though we smoked. They were well aware of the dangers of smoking, drugs,alcohol and unsafe sex. Its not all about smoking.
    Ironically my youngest daughter did a science project about the affects of smoking and then we found out she had started smoking. She stopped in her mid twenties when she was pregnant with her first child and has not smoked since. She is now in her late thirties. My eldest daughter has never smoked.
    The point is, teenagers eventually grow up and they have learn for themselves. You cannot bully, scare or frighten them into making the right choices.

  • TTR
    10 May 2013

    There’s an enormous amount of valuable experience from around the world of different types of tobacco regulation. Why won’t the health lobby do proper scientific research into what works and what doesn’t? Instead, they seem much more interested in enagaging in a virility contest to get the most hyperactive and draconian measures enacted. The lack of any interest in researching the impact of existing measures such as graphical health warnings, smoking bans and punitive taxation is staggering and really makes you wonder whether these people really care about health outcomes. Its very sad that organisations like CRUK have become highjacked by campaigning zealots when resources could be better deployed on bringing new insight into the causes and cancer and how to prevent it. Regarding plain packaging, ‘an attitude survey of five teenagers from Glasgow’ is no evidence basis for a policy with such far-reaching collateral risk (illict trade, etc).

  • Brian
    10 May 2013

    These packets would not have been plain would they? They would have been covered with vile, disgusting graphic images. Think of the children. I don’t think so. How distressing do you think would these images would be for children, but then I think they’re meant to distress, children and smokers.

  • Mike
    10 May 2013

    Packaging has no influence on wanting to smoke/start smoking. I say that from personal experience.
    I was 15 when I started smoking properly and that was because my group of friends at the time were smoking. I thought it was the “cool” thing to do. I didn’t walk into a shop one day, look at the packaging of cigarettes and immediately want to buy them. In fact when I was younger than 15, I was terrified to try a cigarette (my mother used to smoke) because how can inhaling smoke be any good for you? Young people aren’t stupid.
    If smoking is such a huge health problem, then why is it still legal? The government only care about the huge tax they slap on the price tag and yet they get away with it because smoking is an addiction, not a choice.
    Nicotine is the real problem – forget packaging.

  • junican
    10 May 2013

    I see that the same old propaganda phrases are being trotted out over and over again.
    It is blatantly obvious that the PP objective was to damage tobacco companies and nothing else. I have no connection with tobacco companies and do not give a toss about them, but they do provide WHAT PEOPLE WANT and provide a lot of jobs both directly and indirectly. I do wish that the Tobacco Control Monopoly would stop the ‘for the children’ racket. Children have no interest in cigarettes – period. They like sweeties.
    The author of this article must know very well that the Tobacco Control Industry have NEVER defined the word ‘children’. Also, it constantly, and deliberately, lumps together the words ‘children’ and ‘young people’, as though ‘young people’ were children. But the TCI more and more class ‘young people’ as up to the age of 25!
    The propaganda lies and spin of the Tobacco Control Industry (which has been providing a very lucrative living for many a charlatan for some years) are gradually being seen for what they are.
    Finally, why did the Tobacco Control Industry not produce PROOF that smoking causes lung cancer in the McTear Case?

  • Gary
    9 May 2013

    I’m sorry, not all Cancer’s are caused by smoking, Smoking should be about “choice”, Cancer Research UK, please research cancer cure’s, and not wast time and money on things such as plain packaging. No government will ever ban the sale of tobacco. Children now all they have to do is to walk down the street and, YES, the’ll see people smoking so all this anti smoking nonsense will have very little or no effect on children starting smoking, in a nutshell if people are going to start smoking the’ll start, end of.

  • GT
    9 May 2013

    I fully support this campaign and the evidence I have reviewed is totally compelling. My 12 year old daughter is undoubtedly a prime target for tobacco manufacturers…remember over 200,000 children as young as 11 start smoking every year. Branded packs convey the brands personality and allow the tobacco industry to target specific audiences and kids are particularly susceptible. I wonder what the target audiance is for the “extra long, slim, white cigarettes, with flowery purple twists, in a long square box shaped like lipstick”? Go figure……While JTI would never admit that 12-17 girls were part of the target audience for this particular brand, it doesn’t take a genius to work it out (remember 8 out of 10 smokers start by the age of 19). Cigarette packaging is critical to tobacco manufacturers in attracting new smokers – that is why they are fighting this tooth and nail, but I for one will not give up in campaigning for standardised packs. My father died of lung cancer and, having started smoking at 13 myself and only managing to quit at 40, introducing plain packs and giving my daughter and thousands of other kids one less reason to start is just a no brainer.

  • Ivan
    9 May 2013

    @CRUK
    “The validity of the figure of 500,000 people who aren’t in favour of plain packs is far from clear.”

    Are you still trying to claim that your only opponents are part of a tobacco company conspiracy? I think that you will find that the DH backpedalled on that issue but of course, you only ever mention the parts of the story that support your cause.

    Unsurprisingly you fail to mention the fact that the validity of the much smaller petitions in support of “plain” packs was more convincingly questioned following the publication of correspondence in which tobacco control activists urged supporters to sign multiple petitions and therefore potentially defraud a government consultation.

    This selective view of events and the ridiculous pseudoscientific claims do CRUK no favours. Even if you “win” eventually it will still be a sad day for CRUK because there is little genuine public support for what you are doing and its Orwellian overtones are beginning to ring alarm bells amongst many people who have no links whatsoever with tobacco companies. Constantly trying to smear and censor opponents is a trademark of authoritarian regimes and it would appear public health industry activists. I find it sickening and hope that many others do to.

  • Mike Ridgway
    9 May 2013

    For those who think they no better about the illicit trade …..just look at the the letter in The Times from 20 plus senior police officers from June last year …..the criminal involvement in the cigarette illicit trade is enormous …How many criminals are on the most wanted list from UK law enforcement agencies?..Answer …a very high percentage !!…forget the Border Agency and Trading Standards…they have no resource ….and this is the issue ….once onto the market and sales take place from car boot sales and pub car parks etc etc ….THERE IS NO CONTROL ….and the criminals will sell to anybody ….especially to children……GROW UP CR- UK ….and focus on the real issue of what is needed and improved …like better education and cultural awareness about the perils of smoking …..and NOT regulation that will not work!!..Mike 19

  • Sue D
    9 May 2013

    As a marketeer I’m well aware of the opportunity packaging provides as a tool to create perceptions amongst consumers. Tobacco packaging is no different to other consumer products. For those who’ve commented on standard packs removing individuals’ liberties, just remember, the objective of this legislation is to reduce the number of kids who begin smoking. It is NOT to take away liberties from adults who currently smoke.

  • Ash
    9 May 2013

    * Sorry, the above should ready ‘a total ban on cigarette displays’

  • Ash
    9 May 2013

    It is misguided to say that plain packaging will have no impact. For those referencing Australia, it has not been in place long enough to make any conclusive results.
    With no ability to advertise, and soon a total on cigarette displays, packaging is the last opportunity tobacco companies have to display their brand in any meaningful way.
    Brands are what organisations use to establish some sort of emotional connection between product / service and their audience. If tobacco companies didn’t care that much, this battle would not still be raging.

  • Ivan
    9 May 2013

    It was a sad day for CRUK when it took in ASH and became a political organisation. It is not possible to associate with dishonest fanatics for any length of time without it having some impact. The “plain” packaging campaign was a vanity project from the beginning and those CRUK donors who were not brainwashed by the enormous volumes of junk that polluted the CRUK brand during it must be thinking twice about associating with any organization capable of wasting so much of its time and their money on such a tawdry piece of political grandstanding. I have not donated since the campaign began in earnest and will not do so until I see some sort of contrition from those who allowed this to happen. I will recommend that others do likewise.

  • Amster
    9 May 2013

    So this is what you guys do with the money raised under the guise of cancer research? What don’t you spend the cash for the scientists in the labs as opposed to these useless campaigns wasting donations? We don’t need plain packaging. There is no longer no advertising on big billboard or television. There are no huge Marlboro F1 cars going round tracks, or sponsored Embassy world snooker championships anymore. Smoking is banned in public places. People are aware enough of the dangers of cigarette smoking – those who do it, will do it regardless. Packaging makes no difference and yes I think will encourage counterfeit products. Just spend our donations more wisely please.

  • Andy M
    9 May 2013

    PJ by banning something you will merely force it underground….American prohibition of alcohol? How many bootleg and moonshine distilleries surfaced when it was outlawed?

  • TTR
    9 May 2013

    Cancer Research UK should focus on RESEARCH into the prevention and cure of CANCER rather than self-serving political campaigns. In the case of tobacco regulation, research might lead to EVIDENCE and that would be a good basis for policy. I’m afraid the arguments for plain packaging have been characterised by noisy propaganda, vilification of opponents and outright dishonesty about the evidence and potential consequences and have been all the less convincing for that!

  • Cancer Research UK
    9 May 2013

    Thanks for the comments – we just want to respond to a couple of points ‘PJ’ made earlier.

    The validity of the figure of 500,000 people who aren’t in favour of plain packs is far from clear. Department of Health Officials have raised concerns about how legitimate this number is after they witnessed how one of the collectors was gathering signatures.

    On the point of who objects to plain packaging, some police officers have indeed opposed the measure. But The Trading Standards Institute (responsible for enforcing laws on fake goods and stopping the sale of counterfeit products), an expert from the EU anti-fraud office, and police involved in reducing tobacco smuggling in the North of England all say that the introduction of standardised packaging is likely to have little or no significant impact on the level of illicit trade. Just recently the Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner gave his strong support for standardised packs.

    ‘Premature cancer mortality’ is a term used as a health indicator to define the number of cancer deaths before the age of 75.

    Smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in the world. Without question, it causes ill health and shortens lives. Living in a city or near a main road is not going to affect your risk of lung cancer much if you already smoke. A large amount of research has shown that tobacco smoke is far more dangerous than air pollution. Tobacco smoke causes around 85% of lung cancer cases in the UK, making it by far the biggest cause of the disease. Compared to this, air pollution causes only a small proportion of cases.

    Nicotine is a stimulant, not a relaxant – the relaxation comes from relief of addiction. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine so unfortunately that relief is very hard to achieve for smokers hooked on a product that will kill half of its long-term users

    We are absolutely committed to reducing the burden of cancer and preventing children from starting smoking is vital. We believe, and the evidence supports us in this, that plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products will help achieve this.

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    Andy m- you are quite right in what you say but who are the biggest advertisers of tobacco since July 1st 2007? Answer:- all the anti tobacco agencies clamouring to be the first to ban this, that or the other!
    Smoking is already6 going ‘underground’ as people are shunning the pubs and hosting drinky/smoky’s in their own properties thus ignoring the pubs! How many thousands of businesses have closed in the past 6 years, how many thousands of people have been rendered unemployed and how many £millions has this silly and illiberal law cost this country so far?
    All that was ever needed was choice, that would have been the democratic way of doing things but no, oh no, the anti tobacco lot had to go full tilt and create prohibition.
    Now, for CROOK sorry CRUK who state that every penny of public donations goes directly to research: why is it then that they funded the PP campaign giant hoardings in the Sth West to the tune of £468.000?
    As this was a blatant lie, just how many other lies can be uncovered I wonder? After receiving £433,000,000 who knows what is being creamed off for various purposes?

  • Veronica Boyce-Stevens
    9 May 2013

    Focusing time and effort on this issue may be misplaced. As Mike Ridgway points out, there is a lack of evidence regarding plain packaging. A colleague and I undertook a small study of young people and smoking a few years ago, and it was clear that their reasons for taking up the habit were complex. The two things that stood out were peer pressure, and role modelling of smoking as a tool for stress management and emotion regulation by the adults around them. I took up smoking at the age of 13 (I’m now a non-smoker) and I believe plain packaging would not have made any difference to my decision. I think a better direction to go in would be to invest in robust and in-depth research into the reasons why young people take up smoking, and then into encouraging the Government to invest in implementing interventions that will address the real issues.

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    There is a complete lack of evidence regarding PP being ‘ a good move’. Australia are trying it but so far sales have not diminished although it has caused anohter, much smaller company to create thousands more ‘packet stickers’ to cover the rubbish that is now plastered all over their cigarette packets!
    When i was a child the colours of all those cigarette packets didn’t ‘force’ me to try them out! Some kids are born to be smokers and some are not, simple as that. My father, when he smoked, smoked a very plain, dull coloured brand, it was his choice!
    The PP campaign is simply another step by campaigners to remove people’s human right of choice and has now involved Cuba in the legal fight-which they should win, unless of course the law has been completely corrupted by this anti tobacco hysteria?
    It is very interesting to note that most people now say it is for the “Chiiildren” or the “next generation” because with all the claims of tobacco reduction, and smoking cessation it seems very strange that (apparently) another 150,000 children have taken up smoking-so the answer is, quite simply, ban tobacco altogether!

  • David Collins
    9 May 2013

    I have supported this campaign from the start. And will continue to do so until the last method tobacco companies have to market their killer addictive product to children is removed. The evidence that packaging is attractive to children is just as overwhelming as the evidence that tobacco products will lead to the premature death of half it’s long term users. I’m not anti smoker I’m anti tobacco, there’s a big difference. producing and selling tobacco is a commercial choice.The vast majority of smokers are addicted to nicotine and for them smoking is no longer the free choice pro tobacco supporters would have people believe. It’s not particularly surprising that many pro tobacco supporters state that the are non smokers. Unless they have seen the effects of an addiction on the decision making of the addicts, how could they possibly understand. This campaign is not over. The evidence is clear and we must continue to put the health of the next generation before the profits of legalised addictive drug dealers. https://action.cancerresearchuk.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=149&ea.campaign.id=16993

  • Kirsten Roche
    9 May 2013

    I used to be somewhat sceptical about the benefits of plain packaging until I understood two things; firstly this is targeted at stopping children from smoking – as a child I vividly recall seeing my cousin smoking a packet of YSL branded cigarettes and thinking it was one of the most glamorous things I had ever seen. Children are easily seduced by packaging and if this legislation stops even one child from being tempted to smoke because of a misguided belief that it is glamorous or cool then surely it is worth it.
    Second was when I actually looked at how packaging is used to deceive the consumer, this is strongly apparent in the packaging for menthol cigarettes. The use of white and pastels on these packets create an impression that they are light and less bad for you – not loaded with tar and toxins. I am glad that I live in Scotland where the decision has already been taken to introduce plain packets!

  • george speller
    9 May 2013

    Not used to losing are you?

  • Sarah Rose
    9 May 2013

    If you want to enjoy your fag, that’s up to you. The introduction of plain standard packaging won’t change your options. What it WILL do is reduce the number of children who take up smoking every year.

    As responsible adults, don’t we all want to protect the children?? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the tobacco industry is fighting so hard against this – they know it will reduce the number of new smokers just as much as CR-UK do.

    Plain standard packs have been introduced elsewhere already, it is only a matter of time before it is introduced in England too, but the government should get their finger out and do it sooner rather than later. Delay is damaging peoples lives.

  • Andy M.
    9 May 2013

    If packaging wasn`t so profitable and lucrative in luring young impressionable kids into a lifetime habit which , if used as directed will kill half of them, why do they
    A;spend millions on designs…
    .B:spend more millions defending them.
    Standard packing was never meant to stop adults who choose to smoke, the intent was to give millions of kids one less reason to start.
    The argument about counterfeiting doesn`t hold either, as the packs already have to conceal sophisticated marks to prove whether duty etc has been paid, or even if they are the correct product. Packs are easy enough to copy given a half decent printer anyway, hence the need for covert markings.

  • Rosa Macpherson
    9 May 2013

    The pleasant and enjoyable past time of drawing on a fag”! I drew on thousands of fags over the years and it gave me cancer. It could have killed me, Smoking killed my father who developed gangrene, suffered amputations as his body decayed and rotted through ” drawing on fags’. Tobacco smoking kills one out of every two long term users. It is a poison that 200,000 children are encouraged to draw into their lungs every year. Half of them will die from it. Freedom to poison our children? Freedom to make billions of pounds by poisoning our children. Your idea of freedom Sir or Madam is seriously amiss. You are sensible enough not to become a tobacco addict. Would you be happy to watch your child become one? legally? And through the tricks and trades of the Tobacco profiteers?

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    Ross Mac:so you think that you are the only one? I watched my father die too-and he’d given up smoking for thirty years but they said ‘it was the fags that done him’-what utter rubbish, he was over 70, in poor health and couldn’t cope with yet another operation!
    I have seen countless cancer victims that have never touched a cigarette, do yopu blame tobacco for all those cancers too?
    You say, “Tobacco smoking kills one out of every two long term users.” well here’s the news: 100% of all people die sooner or later!
    You say, “It is a poison that 200,000 children are encouraged to draw into their lungs every year” well here’s some more news: 500,000 babies born every year are subjected to dirty, filthy, highly toxic exhaust fumes as soon as they venture into the outside world-how many pushchairs & buggies etc are at exhaust pipe level and how much of that toxic muck gets straight into their tiny, developing lungs-probably 10-12 years before they even think about trying a cigarette!
    As for my children? Well, much to your obvious distaste they were allowed to grow up with the adult attitude that it is their body therefore it is their choice! They were warned about the dangers of drugs and the effects, not to mention the unsavoury characters that suppliued them, they were warned about the dangers of alcohol and also the dangers of smoking although having watched so many of our relatives die from one form of cancer or another and none of them being smokers seems to negate your abhorrence of “The pleasant and enjoyable past time of drawing on a fag” – which it obviously is to some!
    Andy M-your argument is completely baseless. If tobacco is such a biog killer then why not simply ban it altogether-and motor vehicles & milk & coffee & red meat & red wine &…………………………………… get my drift?

  • Cancer Research UK
    9 May 2013

    Hi Mike, there’s plenty of evidence that plain packs make tobacco less attractive to children – it’s provided through the links in the article. But just in case you missed it, you can find it here.

    Regarding your claims that that plain packs would open up supply of tobacco to children “via unregulated sources and criminal activities”, I’m afraid we disagree. And so, too, do the Trading Standards Office – have a look at what they have to say about the matter.

  • David
    9 May 2013

    When a former Director of ASH UK, Clive Bates, describes CRC as “unscientific and unethical” in a letter to Linda McAvan MEP (www.clivebates.com entry for 7 May 2013) do you take pause for thought?

  • PJ
    9 May 2013

    Chris Woodhall fails to inform his acolytes and followers at large that over 500,000 free thinking human beings voted AGAINST plain packaging-much to the corrupted anti-tobacco organisations chagrin! He also fails to state that police officers of all ranks objected to PP on the grounds that smuggling/counterfeiting would be rapidly enhanced. He also fails to inform the world at large that hundreds of vital jobs would be lost-but then that wouldn’t matter would it, people could simply die from boredom!
    What people like Woodhall need to realise is that 100% of all people die, it is up to them when that event occurs and could Woodhall please state how a “premature death” is obtained-considering no one is born with a time stamp on their person?
    If “Protecting the public health of its citizens should be a top priority for any government.” is indeed the top p[riority then why are all forms of motor vehicles still on the roads causing all sorts of disgraceful toxicity that affects tiny lungs long before any cigarette is thought about? Governments top priority is to ensure that the people have jobs to go to so as to be able to afford a decent standard of living-unfortunately Woodhall has allowed his hatred of all products tobacco to cloud his judgement.
    Smoking(?) I don’t but millions enjoy the pleasant & relaxing pastime of ‘drawing on a fag’ and as SHS has proven to be harmless why have government and all the little anti smoking tribesmen & women been allowed to waste nearly £500,000 on this ridiculous assault on people’s freedoms?

  • Mike Ridgway
    9 May 2013

    Your article fails to address the lack of evidence regarding plain packaging and is your biggest argument weakness….in addition it is a good day for child protection…..plain packaging would have opened up supply of tobacco to children via unregulated sources and criminal activities linked to this ……the UK packaging has been at the forefront of fighting plain packaging….BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES AND CR-UK DO NOT !! Why don’t you direct your efforts to providing better information to children and educational support as they have done in Germany with far better results than regulation on packaging upon which there is no evidence that it works!!!….Also Germany has no display ban ; no vending ; machine ban and no overall smoking ban!!

    CR-UK needs to re direct its efforts !!

    Comments

  • anita drewett
    14 May 2013

    Why on earth does anyone think that A PACKET makes someone want to do it – ’tis the fricking parents – I am one of those fricking parents who smoked in 1965 at the age of 10 because my parents did – 2 out of my 3 children smoke SO – NOTHING TO DO WITH SODDING PACKAGING – I smoked thru’ all 3 pregnancies – I didn’t know it was crap in those days – no-one was told – my daughter knows now that she a) has to give up and b) especially before she gets pregnant xxxxx OK we have been told, but it has destroyed all the pubs in the land – Isn’t anyone else fed up with being told how to live their lives?????

  • junican
    12 May 2013

    @ JDR on May 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm.

    “Smoking in the UK kills more people than overdoses, murder, road accidents, suicide and HIV put together and causes 4 out of 5 lung cancer cases.”

    No it does not.

    There…. You see? Your statement is as easily denied as it is stated.
    Where is your physical proof that smoking causes any disease at all? There simply is none. If you say that epidemiological studies prove your statement, then you should read up about the McTear versus Imperial Tobacco Case in Scotland (ended 2005). There, Tobacco Control had every opportunity to bring their evidence before the court. They failed to do so. In fact, they were invited to do so but refused.

  • Brian
    12 May 2013

    I read somewhere that 80% of people with lung cancer were non smokers. I’ve no idea whether that is true.

    I do remember an American doctor on the news some years ago, saying that because of the emphasis on smoking, it was difficult to find out what caused lung cancer in non smokers.

  • reply
    PJ
    12 May 2013

    One of the reports is here: http://lungcancer.about.com/b/2012/11/29/why-anti-smoking-campaigns-arent-enough-to-eliminate-lung-cancer-deaths.htm
    Can’t be any clearer than that can it but CRUK and their own praiseworthy’s cannot bear to publish such truths!
    Nobody says that all cancers are caused by smoking but the junk science does its very best to include as many different types of cancer as possible into the “smoking dunnit” syndrome.
    As for the letter, I have no idea how to put it on here but the part that matters is here (word verbatim): “When the public donate to us, we pledge that donations will strictly go towards reasearching cancer”. I think that statement is clear enough JDR, don’t you?
    What part of £468,000 on lobbying Government for Plain Packaging (and being part of a totally corrupt campaign) does that apply as “strictly towards researching cancer”?
    CRUK no doubt started out with the best of intentions but they have now simply become a political tool for other hate quangos such as ASH.
    Funny how a Parkinsons Disease charity has reinforced smoking as retarding the disease: http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/parkinson.htm
    M19 makes a very valid point indeed regarding Obesity which costs the NHS 2.5 x’s the cost of smoking related diseases and what imput to Treasury coffers do the obese make in comparison to smokers £10.5bn per annum?
    You carry on with your silly tirades against those who choose to smoke and thus pay for the NHS but when you have eradicated all smoking/smokers in this country it will will be no good crying over the fact that this country is irrevocably broke. Simply look at unemployment figures in the EU to see what is happening thanks to smoking bans & intolerance!

  • Train Stationer
    12 May 2013

    In a stratified study of 76,000 mineworkers published last year, of which 49% were smokers, the incidence of lung cancer was found to be 7 x greater in non-smokers

  • Dick Puddlecote
    10 May 2013

    I will have a bet with you right now, if you’ll take it. I suggest £100 but you can raise that if you like.

    You are using out-of-date government figures for your assertion that illicit trade isn’t increasing. I expect politicians already know the true *current* figures which is why they have recently held their first parliamentary enquiry into the subject.

    So, my bet is that when figures are finally presented by the ONS or any other govt institution (there is always a lag), that they will prove there has been a dramatic rise in illicit since last year’s budget. To win the bet for you, there only needs to be a stagnation or a reduction.

    So, how much money are you willing to back up your campaigning rhetoric with? ;)

  • Richard rendell
    10 May 2013

    Let’s put a health warning on everything it’ s about time we starting making decisions for our selves, there are so many things that affect our health, let’s make parents responsible for their children and not the state a waste of advertising and money. Be Resonsible for your own actions for once in your life

  • Ivan
    10 May 2013

    JDR makes a very important point in that CRUK is a real charity that relies on donations. However it is generally true that it does not make clear at point of donation that donors money may be used for political purposes or siphoned off to pay the likes of Deborah Arnott. I personally view that as dishonest.

    It doesn’t matter that only a small percentage of donations are used for advocacy. If that advocacy associates CRUK with a dirty authoritarian political campaign it tarnishes everyone associated with the charity including the talented researchers who actually do something useful.

  • JDR
    10 May 2013

    Good to see you have ignored the part about you being wrong about government funding!

    OK simply… Smoking in the UK kills more people than overdoses, murder, road accidents, suicide and HIV put together and causes 4 out of 5 lung cancer cases. Cancer Research UK have never said that smoking causes all cancers! You are just completely exaggerating/twisting anything that they do say! Before you comment on here please at least get your facts right. Also it would be great if you could upload this letter you have in front of you, seeing as the website is quite clear about what happens to donations… 80% of each £1 goes to research the rest is used on information nurses, a help line and lobbying policies THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER! They do amazing research without which many people including myself would not be alive today.

    If you loath the work of a charity trying to beat cancer and bring hope to millions of people, then don’t come on the website, don’t dedicate so much time to replying on their posts there are plenty of pro tobacco pages for you and your pals.

  • reply
    M19
    10 May 2013

    How many people does obesity kill in a year ….and sugar content in manufactured products…..CR-UK think they are the guardians of public health…they are not !!….no more subscriptions from me !!

  • JDR
    10 May 2013

    PJ CR-UK don’t receive any government funding, and the large majority of money is spent on research, with a small amount being used for information nurses, a help line and lobbying policies THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER! you can read more about it here since i’m sure you wouldn’t want to misquote would you?!

    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/frequently-asked-questions/our-finances/

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    JDR-I have a letter in front of me which categorically states that ALL donations go directly to RESEARCH. Now you tell me how small £468,000 is, when it is amassed from thousands of people who chuck a few spare bits of small change in the begging bowls thrust at them!
    The fact that Crook actually fund ASH & others is nothing but an insult to those very same people above merntioned.
    And then you hit the jackpot with “THAT SUPPORT THE AIM TO BEAT CANCER”. Now YOU tell me and all the other people that don’t believe your bilge, if smoking rates are slowly declining yet cancer cases are constantly rising (889 per day at the moment-soon to be 899!) what are CROOK lobbying against smoking for when it is blatantly obvious that smoking is not the major cause of all these 200+ forms of cancer?
    Any ideas JDR?

  • Andrew Rolls
    10 May 2013

    But Gina………… The packaging issue IS PART of CRUK’s education incentive!
    I firmly believe in the proverb uttered by a Chinese educationalist many years ago……… “I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand.” And… before anyone shoots me down in flames….. I hasten to add that I’m NOT advocating that kids try smoking so that they will understand how bad it is for them, so much as the fact that non-smoking youngsters will hopefully be fascinated by, and handle and absorb, the messages on the packets of their parents, friends, or relatives! :-) Nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh? :-)
    CRUK……. Is an online petition worth considering, or has it been done already?
    – Andrew.

  • Gina
    10 May 2013

    If CRUK had an effective education policy in place, the packaging issue would be irrelevant.
    Tackling the obsession with fast food, sugary drinks plus the addictive lure of alcohol, smoking and drugs are key.

    Youngsters need self respect and self awareness to form a positive choice. They follow bad habits initiated by adults.

    Informative education and more positive role models would help. Encouraging a healthier lifestyle needs to be more appealing to youngsters. Opportunities for activities need to be affordable and interesting.

    Some will choose to smoke etc, but provided with the right type of venues, with activities, offering affordable good food choices might just keep others distracted.

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    Gina….. that is the most sensible post on here-congratulations! Clive Bates always said that education was the way forward for tobacco cessation yet that abominable woman, Deborah aArnott, came in with a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Tobacco usage ha already dwindled from 70% (1950’s) to around 25% (2005) through exactly those means but Arnott wnated to make a name for herself, thus conned Blairs gov’t into believing that SHS was more toxic than sarin gas.(http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/jul/19/health.healthandwellbeing). She alone has promoted cigarette smoking more than any other and has lived a ‘fat life’ on the back of the World health Organisations desire to eradicate smoking/smokers. As has been rightly pointed out on here by several ‘normal’ people, CRUK have been sucked into the political web of lies & deceit when they should have been spending the £433,000,000 they got last year on research-and that is why they will never get another penny from me again either!
    Kids see all this hype about hiding a product and promptly go out in search of this ‘forbidden fruit’ so all the good educational work that is done by some, is totally UNDONE by the likes of ASH, FRESH et al.
    These quangos should be removed from government support funding, they are (supposedly) charities so let’s see just how much they would receive from the general public! I’ll bet that suych as Arnott/Dockrell wouldn’t hang around to long when they realised the gravy train had been removed due to austerity measures!

  • reply
    PJ
    10 May 2013

    Well, well, well, it would seem that another VERY prominent charity disagrees with the present status quo and a little bit more truth seeps out! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2322050/Eating-peppers-twice-week-reduce-risk-Parkinsons-Disease-THIRD.html
    It is definitely time to ban these wasteful quangos and redirect their funding to our glorious NHS !

  • reply
    Brian
    10 May 2013

    We have two daughters. when they were teenagers, we did not want them to start smoking, even though we smoked. They were well aware of the dangers of smoking, drugs,alcohol and unsafe sex. Its not all about smoking.
    Ironically my youngest daughter did a science project about the affects of smoking and then we found out she had started smoking. She stopped in her mid twenties when she was pregnant with her first child and has not smoked since. She is now in her late thirties. My eldest daughter has never smoked.
    The point is, teenagers eventually grow up and they have learn for themselves. You cannot bully, scare or frighten them into making the right choices.

  • TTR
    10 May 2013

    There’s an enormous amount of valuable experience from around the world of different types of tobacco regulation. Why won’t the health lobby do proper scientific research into what works and what doesn’t? Instead, they seem much more interested in enagaging in a virility contest to get the most hyperactive and draconian measures enacted. The lack of any interest in researching the impact of existing measures such as graphical health warnings, smoking bans and punitive taxation is staggering and really makes you wonder whether these people really care about health outcomes. Its very sad that organisations like CRUK have become highjacked by campaigning zealots when resources could be better deployed on bringing new insight into the causes and cancer and how to prevent it. Regarding plain packaging, ‘an attitude survey of five teenagers from Glasgow’ is no evidence basis for a policy with such far-reaching collateral risk (illict trade, etc).

  • Brian
    10 May 2013

    These packets would not have been plain would they? They would have been covered with vile, disgusting graphic images. Think of the children. I don’t think so. How distressing do you think would these images would be for children, but then I think they’re meant to distress, children and smokers.

  • Mike
    10 May 2013

    Packaging has no influence on wanting to smoke/start smoking. I say that from personal experience.
    I was 15 when I started smoking properly and that was because my group of friends at the time were smoking. I thought it was the “cool” thing to do. I didn’t walk into a shop one day, look at the packaging of cigarettes and immediately want to buy them. In fact when I was younger than 15, I was terrified to try a cigarette (my mother used to smoke) because how can inhaling smoke be any good for you? Young people aren’t stupid.
    If smoking is such a huge health problem, then why is it still legal? The government only care about the huge tax they slap on the price tag and yet they get away with it because smoking is an addiction, not a choice.
    Nicotine is the real problem – forget packaging.

  • junican
    10 May 2013

    I see that the same old propaganda phrases are being trotted out over and over again.
    It is blatantly obvious that the PP objective was to damage tobacco companies and nothing else. I have no connection with tobacco companies and do not give a toss about them, but they do provide WHAT PEOPLE WANT and provide a lot of jobs both directly and indirectly. I do wish that the Tobacco Control Monopoly would stop the ‘for the children’ racket. Children have no interest in cigarettes – period. They like sweeties.
    The author of this article must know very well that the Tobacco Control Industry have NEVER defined the word ‘children’. Also, it constantly, and deliberately, lumps together the words ‘children’ and ‘young people’, as though ‘young people’ were children. But the TCI more and more class ‘young people’ as up to the age of 25!
    The propaganda lies and spin of the Tobacco Control Industry (which has been providing a very lucrative living for many a charlatan for some years) are gradually being seen for what they are.
    Finally, why did the Tobacco Control Industry not produce PROOF that smoking causes lung cancer in the McTear Case?

  • Gary
    9 May 2013

    I’m sorry, not all Cancer’s are caused by smoking, Smoking should be about “choice”, Cancer Research UK, please research cancer cure’s, and not wast time and money on things such as plain packaging. No government will ever ban the sale of tobacco. Children now all they have to do is to walk down the street and, YES, the’ll see people smoking so all this anti smoking nonsense will have very little or no effect on children starting smoking, in a nutshell if people are going to start smoking the’ll start, end of.

  • GT
    9 May 2013

    I fully support this campaign and the evidence I have reviewed is totally compelling. My 12 year old daughter is undoubtedly a prime target for tobacco manufacturers…remember over 200,000 children as young as 11 start smoking every year. Branded packs convey the brands personality and allow the tobacco industry to target specific audiences and kids are particularly susceptible. I wonder what the target audiance is for the “extra long, slim, white cigarettes, with flowery purple twists, in a long square box shaped like lipstick”? Go figure……While JTI would never admit that 12-17 girls were part of the target audience for this particular brand, it doesn’t take a genius to work it out (remember 8 out of 10 smokers start by the age of 19). Cigarette packaging is critical to tobacco manufacturers in attracting new smokers – that is why they are fighting this tooth and nail, but I for one will not give up in campaigning for standardised packs. My father died of lung cancer and, having started smoking at 13 myself and only managing to quit at 40, introducing plain packs and giving my daughter and thousands of other kids one less reason to start is just a no brainer.

  • Ivan
    9 May 2013

    @CRUK
    “The validity of the figure of 500,000 people who aren’t in favour of plain packs is far from clear.”

    Are you still trying to claim that your only opponents are part of a tobacco company conspiracy? I think that you will find that the DH backpedalled on that issue but of course, you only ever mention the parts of the story that support your cause.

    Unsurprisingly you fail to mention the fact that the validity of the much smaller petitions in support of “plain” packs was more convincingly questioned following the publication of correspondence in which tobacco control activists urged supporters to sign multiple petitions and therefore potentially defraud a government consultation.

    This selective view of events and the ridiculous pseudoscientific claims do CRUK no favours. Even if you “win” eventually it will still be a sad day for CRUK because there is little genuine public support for what you are doing and its Orwellian overtones are beginning to ring alarm bells amongst many people who have no links whatsoever with tobacco companies. Constantly trying to smear and censor opponents is a trademark of authoritarian regimes and it would appear public health industry activists. I find it sickening and hope that many others do to.

  • Mike Ridgway
    9 May 2013

    For those who think they no better about the illicit trade …..just look at the the letter in The Times from 20 plus senior police officers from June last year …..the criminal involvement in the cigarette illicit trade is enormous …How many criminals are on the most wanted list from UK law enforcement agencies?..Answer …a very high percentage !!…forget the Border Agency and Trading Standards…they have no resource ….and this is the issue ….once onto the market and sales take place from car boot sales and pub car parks etc etc ….THERE IS NO CONTROL ….and the criminals will sell to anybody ….especially to children……GROW UP CR- UK ….and focus on the real issue of what is needed and improved …like better education and cultural awareness about the perils of smoking …..and NOT regulation that will not work!!..Mike 19

  • Sue D
    9 May 2013

    As a marketeer I’m well aware of the opportunity packaging provides as a tool to create perceptions amongst consumers. Tobacco packaging is no different to other consumer products. For those who’ve commented on standard packs removing individuals’ liberties, just remember, the objective of this legislation is to reduce the number of kids who begin smoking. It is NOT to take away liberties from adults who currently smoke.

  • Ash
    9 May 2013

    * Sorry, the above should ready ‘a total ban on cigarette displays’

  • Ash
    9 May 2013

    It is misguided to say that plain packaging will have no impact. For those referencing Australia, it has not been in place long enough to make any conclusive results.
    With no ability to advertise, and soon a total on cigarette displays, packaging is the last opportunity tobacco companies have to display their brand in any meaningful way.
    Brands are what organisations use to establish some sort of emotional connection between product / service and their audience. If tobacco companies didn’t care that much, this battle would not still be raging.

  • Ivan
    9 May 2013

    It was a sad day for CRUK when it took in ASH and became a political organisation. It is not possible to associate with dishonest fanatics for any length of time without it having some impact. The “plain” packaging campaign was a vanity project from the beginning and those CRUK donors who were not brainwashed by the enormous volumes of junk that polluted the CRUK brand during it must be thinking twice about associating with any organization capable of wasting so much of its time and their money on such a tawdry piece of political grandstanding. I have not donated since the campaign began in earnest and will not do so until I see some sort of contrition from those who allowed this to happen. I will recommend that others do likewise.

  • Amster
    9 May 2013

    So this is what you guys do with the money raised under the guise of cancer research? What don’t you spend the cash for the scientists in the labs as opposed to these useless campaigns wasting donations? We don’t need plain packaging. There is no longer no advertising on big billboard or television. There are no huge Marlboro F1 cars going round tracks, or sponsored Embassy world snooker championships anymore. Smoking is banned in public places. People are aware enough of the dangers of cigarette smoking – those who do it, will do it regardless. Packaging makes no difference and yes I think will encourage counterfeit products. Just spend our donations more wisely please.

  • Andy M
    9 May 2013

    PJ by banning something you will merely force it underground….American prohibition of alcohol? How many bootleg and moonshine distilleries surfaced when it was outlawed?

  • TTR
    9 May 2013

    Cancer Research UK should focus on RESEARCH into the prevention and cure of CANCER rather than self-serving political campaigns. In the case of tobacco regulation, research might lead to EVIDENCE and that would be a good basis for policy. I’m afraid the arguments for plain packaging have been characterised by noisy propaganda, vilification of opponents and outright dishonesty about the evidence and potential consequences and have been all the less convincing for that!

  • Cancer Research UK
    9 May 2013

    Thanks for the comments – we just want to respond to a couple of points ‘PJ’ made earlier.

    The validity of the figure of 500,000 people who aren’t in favour of plain packs is far from clear. Department of Health Officials have raised concerns about how legitimate this number is after they witnessed how one of the collectors was gathering signatures.

    On the point of who objects to plain packaging, some police officers have indeed opposed the measure. But The Trading Standards Institute (responsible for enforcing laws on fake goods and stopping the sale of counterfeit products), an expert from the EU anti-fraud office, and police involved in reducing tobacco smuggling in the North of England all say that the introduction of standardised packaging is likely to have little or no significant impact on the level of illicit trade. Just recently the Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner gave his strong support for standardised packs.

    ‘Premature cancer mortality’ is a term used as a health indicator to define the number of cancer deaths before the age of 75.

    Smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable mortality and morbidity in the world. Without question, it causes ill health and shortens lives. Living in a city or near a main road is not going to affect your risk of lung cancer much if you already smoke. A large amount of research has shown that tobacco smoke is far more dangerous than air pollution. Tobacco smoke causes around 85% of lung cancer cases in the UK, making it by far the biggest cause of the disease. Compared to this, air pollution causes only a small proportion of cases.

    Nicotine is a stimulant, not a relaxant – the relaxation comes from relief of addiction. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine so unfortunately that relief is very hard to achieve for smokers hooked on a product that will kill half of its long-term users

    We are absolutely committed to reducing the burden of cancer and preventing children from starting smoking is vital. We believe, and the evidence supports us in this, that plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products will help achieve this.

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    Andy m- you are quite right in what you say but who are the biggest advertisers of tobacco since July 1st 2007? Answer:- all the anti tobacco agencies clamouring to be the first to ban this, that or the other!
    Smoking is already6 going ‘underground’ as people are shunning the pubs and hosting drinky/smoky’s in their own properties thus ignoring the pubs! How many thousands of businesses have closed in the past 6 years, how many thousands of people have been rendered unemployed and how many £millions has this silly and illiberal law cost this country so far?
    All that was ever needed was choice, that would have been the democratic way of doing things but no, oh no, the anti tobacco lot had to go full tilt and create prohibition.
    Now, for CROOK sorry CRUK who state that every penny of public donations goes directly to research: why is it then that they funded the PP campaign giant hoardings in the Sth West to the tune of £468.000?
    As this was a blatant lie, just how many other lies can be uncovered I wonder? After receiving £433,000,000 who knows what is being creamed off for various purposes?

  • Veronica Boyce-Stevens
    9 May 2013

    Focusing time and effort on this issue may be misplaced. As Mike Ridgway points out, there is a lack of evidence regarding plain packaging. A colleague and I undertook a small study of young people and smoking a few years ago, and it was clear that their reasons for taking up the habit were complex. The two things that stood out were peer pressure, and role modelling of smoking as a tool for stress management and emotion regulation by the adults around them. I took up smoking at the age of 13 (I’m now a non-smoker) and I believe plain packaging would not have made any difference to my decision. I think a better direction to go in would be to invest in robust and in-depth research into the reasons why young people take up smoking, and then into encouraging the Government to invest in implementing interventions that will address the real issues.

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    There is a complete lack of evidence regarding PP being ‘ a good move’. Australia are trying it but so far sales have not diminished although it has caused anohter, much smaller company to create thousands more ‘packet stickers’ to cover the rubbish that is now plastered all over their cigarette packets!
    When i was a child the colours of all those cigarette packets didn’t ‘force’ me to try them out! Some kids are born to be smokers and some are not, simple as that. My father, when he smoked, smoked a very plain, dull coloured brand, it was his choice!
    The PP campaign is simply another step by campaigners to remove people’s human right of choice and has now involved Cuba in the legal fight-which they should win, unless of course the law has been completely corrupted by this anti tobacco hysteria?
    It is very interesting to note that most people now say it is for the “Chiiildren” or the “next generation” because with all the claims of tobacco reduction, and smoking cessation it seems very strange that (apparently) another 150,000 children have taken up smoking-so the answer is, quite simply, ban tobacco altogether!

  • David Collins
    9 May 2013

    I have supported this campaign from the start. And will continue to do so until the last method tobacco companies have to market their killer addictive product to children is removed. The evidence that packaging is attractive to children is just as overwhelming as the evidence that tobacco products will lead to the premature death of half it’s long term users. I’m not anti smoker I’m anti tobacco, there’s a big difference. producing and selling tobacco is a commercial choice.The vast majority of smokers are addicted to nicotine and for them smoking is no longer the free choice pro tobacco supporters would have people believe. It’s not particularly surprising that many pro tobacco supporters state that the are non smokers. Unless they have seen the effects of an addiction on the decision making of the addicts, how could they possibly understand. This campaign is not over. The evidence is clear and we must continue to put the health of the next generation before the profits of legalised addictive drug dealers. https://action.cancerresearchuk.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=149&ea.campaign.id=16993

  • Kirsten Roche
    9 May 2013

    I used to be somewhat sceptical about the benefits of plain packaging until I understood two things; firstly this is targeted at stopping children from smoking – as a child I vividly recall seeing my cousin smoking a packet of YSL branded cigarettes and thinking it was one of the most glamorous things I had ever seen. Children are easily seduced by packaging and if this legislation stops even one child from being tempted to smoke because of a misguided belief that it is glamorous or cool then surely it is worth it.
    Second was when I actually looked at how packaging is used to deceive the consumer, this is strongly apparent in the packaging for menthol cigarettes. The use of white and pastels on these packets create an impression that they are light and less bad for you – not loaded with tar and toxins. I am glad that I live in Scotland where the decision has already been taken to introduce plain packets!

  • george speller
    9 May 2013

    Not used to losing are you?

  • Sarah Rose
    9 May 2013

    If you want to enjoy your fag, that’s up to you. The introduction of plain standard packaging won’t change your options. What it WILL do is reduce the number of children who take up smoking every year.

    As responsible adults, don’t we all want to protect the children?? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the tobacco industry is fighting so hard against this – they know it will reduce the number of new smokers just as much as CR-UK do.

    Plain standard packs have been introduced elsewhere already, it is only a matter of time before it is introduced in England too, but the government should get their finger out and do it sooner rather than later. Delay is damaging peoples lives.

  • Andy M.
    9 May 2013

    If packaging wasn`t so profitable and lucrative in luring young impressionable kids into a lifetime habit which , if used as directed will kill half of them, why do they
    A;spend millions on designs…
    .B:spend more millions defending them.
    Standard packing was never meant to stop adults who choose to smoke, the intent was to give millions of kids one less reason to start.
    The argument about counterfeiting doesn`t hold either, as the packs already have to conceal sophisticated marks to prove whether duty etc has been paid, or even if they are the correct product. Packs are easy enough to copy given a half decent printer anyway, hence the need for covert markings.

  • Rosa Macpherson
    9 May 2013

    The pleasant and enjoyable past time of drawing on a fag”! I drew on thousands of fags over the years and it gave me cancer. It could have killed me, Smoking killed my father who developed gangrene, suffered amputations as his body decayed and rotted through ” drawing on fags’. Tobacco smoking kills one out of every two long term users. It is a poison that 200,000 children are encouraged to draw into their lungs every year. Half of them will die from it. Freedom to poison our children? Freedom to make billions of pounds by poisoning our children. Your idea of freedom Sir or Madam is seriously amiss. You are sensible enough not to become a tobacco addict. Would you be happy to watch your child become one? legally? And through the tricks and trades of the Tobacco profiteers?

  • reply
    PJ
    9 May 2013

    Ross Mac:so you think that you are the only one? I watched my father die too-and he’d given up smoking for thirty years but they said ‘it was the fags that done him’-what utter rubbish, he was over 70, in poor health and couldn’t cope with yet another operation!
    I have seen countless cancer victims that have never touched a cigarette, do yopu blame tobacco for all those cancers too?
    You say, “Tobacco smoking kills one out of every two long term users.” well here’s the news: 100% of all people die sooner or later!
    You say, “It is a poison that 200,000 children are encouraged to draw into their lungs every year” well here’s some more news: 500,000 babies born every year are subjected to dirty, filthy, highly toxic exhaust fumes as soon as they venture into the outside world-how many pushchairs & buggies etc are at exhaust pipe level and how much of that toxic muck gets straight into their tiny, developing lungs-probably 10-12 years before they even think about trying a cigarette!
    As for my children? Well, much to your obvious distaste they were allowed to grow up with the adult attitude that it is their body therefore it is their choice! They were warned about the dangers of drugs and the effects, not to mention the unsavoury characters that suppliued them, they were warned about the dangers of alcohol and also the dangers of smoking although having watched so many of our relatives die from one form of cancer or another and none of them being smokers seems to negate your abhorrence of “The pleasant and enjoyable past time of drawing on a fag” – which it obviously is to some!
    Andy M-your argument is completely baseless. If tobacco is such a biog killer then why not simply ban it altogether-and motor vehicles & milk & coffee & red meat & red wine &…………………………………… get my drift?

  • Cancer Research UK
    9 May 2013

    Hi Mike, there’s plenty of evidence that plain packs make tobacco less attractive to children – it’s provided through the links in the article. But just in case you missed it, you can find it here.

    Regarding your claims that that plain packs would open up supply of tobacco to children “via unregulated sources and criminal activities”, I’m afraid we disagree. And so, too, do the Trading Standards Office – have a look at what they have to say about the matter.

  • David
    9 May 2013

    When a former Director of ASH UK, Clive Bates, describes CRC as “unscientific and unethical” in a letter to Linda McAvan MEP (www.clivebates.com entry for 7 May 2013) do you take pause for thought?

  • PJ
    9 May 2013

    Chris Woodhall fails to inform his acolytes and followers at large that over 500,000 free thinking human beings voted AGAINST plain packaging-much to the corrupted anti-tobacco organisations chagrin! He also fails to state that police officers of all ranks objected to PP on the grounds that smuggling/counterfeiting would be rapidly enhanced. He also fails to inform the world at large that hundreds of vital jobs would be lost-but then that wouldn’t matter would it, people could simply die from boredom!
    What people like Woodhall need to realise is that 100% of all people die, it is up to them when that event occurs and could Woodhall please state how a “premature death” is obtained-considering no one is born with a time stamp on their person?
    If “Protecting the public health of its citizens should be a top priority for any government.” is indeed the top p[riority then why are all forms of motor vehicles still on the roads causing all sorts of disgraceful toxicity that affects tiny lungs long before any cigarette is thought about? Governments top priority is to ensure that the people have jobs to go to so as to be able to afford a decent standard of living-unfortunately Woodhall has allowed his hatred of all products tobacco to cloud his judgement.
    Smoking(?) I don’t but millions enjoy the pleasant & relaxing pastime of ‘drawing on a fag’ and as SHS has proven to be harmless why have government and all the little anti smoking tribesmen & women been allowed to waste nearly £500,000 on this ridiculous assault on people’s freedoms?

  • Mike Ridgway
    9 May 2013

    Your article fails to address the lack of evidence regarding plain packaging and is your biggest argument weakness….in addition it is a good day for child protection…..plain packaging would have opened up supply of tobacco to children via unregulated sources and criminal activities linked to this ……the UK packaging has been at the forefront of fighting plain packaging….BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THE PROCESSES AND CR-UK DO NOT !! Why don’t you direct your efforts to providing better information to children and educational support as they have done in Germany with far better results than regulation on packaging upon which there is no evidence that it works!!!….Also Germany has no display ban ; no vending ; machine ban and no overall smoking ban!!

    CR-UK needs to re direct its efforts !!