Setting the Standard for plain cigarette packaging

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MPs vote in favour of plain, standardised cigarette packaging 

Thank you

On Wednesday 11 March, MPs voted in favour of standard cigarette packs by 367 to 113. This is a huge victory for public health – and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Campaign update

Great news! On Wednesday 11 March, MPs voted in favour of standard cigarette packs by 367 to 113. This is a fantastic result and a huge victory for public health.

We couldn’t have done it without you. Over the past three years, around 90,000 of our amazing supporters have taken an action on this campaign – from signing petitions and emailing your MPs, to visiting Parliament - everyone has united to bring about this momentous vote.

Standard packs will prevent young people from taking up smoking and ultimately help save lives. This is a big step as we move towards our goal of a tobacco free generation.

The legislation was voted through by the House of Lords on Monday 16 March, so we expect to see standard packs on the shelves in May 2016.


With other forms of advertising closed to them, tobacco companies have invested a fortune in innovative packaging, creating ‘mobile billboards’ that appeal to young people. Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18, the beginning of an addiction that keeps them smoking into adulthood, where tobacco use kills one in two long-term users.

Our evidence shows that removing all branding and design from the packs makes cigarettes less attractive to both adults and children, increasing the prominence of health warnings on packs.

Watch our film to see why we need to protect children from tobacco marketing.


Support for standard packs

In the UK, the campaign for standard packs has been supported by over 200,000 people – including 80,000 of our own supporters. It also has the backing of a coalition of over 250 health and wellbeing organisations, the Chief Medical Officer and the World Health Organization.

In January 2015 figures released by Cancer Research UK show that the general public also back the measure. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of voters across the political spectrum (Conservative,75%; Labour, 75%; Lib Dem, 80%; UKIP, 64%) said they support standard packs, with only 15 per cent opposed (YouGov, 2015).

85% of all mothers and grandmothers with children under 18 years old believe children should not be exposed to any tobacco marketing (YouGov, 2013).

As health is a devolved issue, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all passed ‘Legislative Consent Motions’ that would mean laws for standard packs could extend to all four nations, if the regulations are secured in Westminster.

What are plain, standard packs?

Plain standardised packaging means all cigarette and hand-rolling 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. It’s time for the UK to follow their lead.

Watch our video showing how tobacco companies have gone as far as local laws allow to recruit young people as smokers.

No children were smoking in this film. Find out how we made this film.

Evidence and information

Our evidence shows that plain, standardised packaging will help reduce smoking rates. Get more information on why we're campaigning.

See our evidence

Cross Cancer Out

Take political action and accelerate progress in the fight against cancer. At election time we have a choice. We choose to cross cancer out.

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