Cancer Research UK welcomes government action to introduce standard packs as Australia sees rapid decline in cigarette sales

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK today welcomed the Government’s commitment to make standard packs of tobacco and cigarettes law in the UK before the 2015 general election - but urged the Government to move as quickly as possible to protect children from the lethal toll of tobacco.

“We’re delighted that the Government has, at the eleventh hour, published the draft regulations." - Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive

The Government has today made the crucial move to publish the draft regulations which will make standard packs law before the 2015 general election, following growing evidence, overwhelming cross-party parliamentary support and strong backing from the public and the health community.
This announcement comes as Australian figures reveal a significant five per cent* drop in cigarettes sold per head of population in the first year after the standard packs were introduced in December 2012.

But the pressure is still on for the Government to move swiftly, given the need for a final six-week consultation period on the draft regulations, and then a further six-month EU Member States notification period before the law can be passed.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that the Government has, at the eleventh hour, published the draft regulations.

“The Australian Government’s brave and evidence-based move to strip packs of their tobacco industry marketing is already having a dramatic effect. Australian cigarette sales are decreasing rapidly and in the years to come this will translate to a healthier nation.

“We must also move quickly from here. The initial consultation into standard packs in the UK began over two years ago, and every single day since then hundreds more children have started smoking.

“We urge the Government to press on without further delay to deliver on its commitment to protect children from the deadly toll of tobacco and drive down deaths from lung and other forms of cancer."

The initial consultation into standard packs began over two years ago (16 April to 16 August 2012).

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for more than a fifth of all cancer deaths. Each year in the UK around 43,500 people are diagnosed and 35,200 people die from the disease. Smoking also increases the risk of over a dozen other cancers, including liver, pancreas, mouth, oesophagus and bowel cancer.


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Notes to Editor

*Australian Government Department of Health figures: