UK children can breathe easier after Commons vote to introduce plain, standardised tobacco packs

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK welcomes today’s vote in the Commons to introduce plain, standardised tobacco packaging across the UK.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK chief executive, said: “This great result is one we’ve been looking forward to for many years. Today’s historic vote in Parliament marks a strong and clear commitment to the health of future generations, as well as strengthening this country’s ability to protect children from tobacco marketing. 

“During the last three years we’ve seen the evidence grow about the impact of tobacco packaging. Strong support for removing the slick marketing of today’s packs has increased among the public and across the political spectrum. There are around 100,000 people who die from tobacco in the UK every year. Standard packs will help reduce the number of lives blighted by this lethal product and help us move towards a tobacco free generation.”

Cancer Research UK began campaigning for standardised packaging of tobacco within weeks of the first public consultation on the issue in April 2012. 

Following the successful passage of the regulations through the House of Commons, they will now go before the House of Lords later this month for approval and the new packs will be introduced in May 2016.

Plain standardised packaging means all cigarette and hand-rolled tobacco packaging will look the same.

They will be packaged in a standard shape without branding, design or a logo:

  • Picture health warnings will remain
  • Brand names will be in standard type face, colour and size
  • The shape, colour and method of opening the packet will be standardised
  • The ‘duty paid’ stamp will remain with covert markings that show the pack is not counterfeit
  • Cigarette packs will also be standardised in size and colour

In December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce standard packs for cigarettes, and the results are encouraging.


For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050264 059.

Notes to Editor

For the latest statistics on smoking:

Read more about Cancer Research UK’s “Setting the Standard” campaign here: