The UK Government is to press ahead with plans to ban all branding on cigarette packs in England and Wales, after a statement from Public Health Minister Jane Ellison that the move is likely to have a "positive impact".
Ellison yesterday told MPs that an independent report had concluded that a move towards plain packaging for cigarettes was "very likely to have a positive impact" and would help prevent children from taking up smoking.
She added that draft regulations and the results of a consultation were likely to be published later this month, with the aim on of bringing the ban into law before the General Election in May 2015.
With Northern Ireland and Scotland also both likely to follow suit, it mean the UK is likely to become the second country after Australia, and the first in Europe, to implement a full ban on cigarette-pack branding.
Major tobacco firms such as British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris have called on the Government to reappraise its plans, questioning whether plain packs will have an impact on smoking rates.
Philip Morris said in a statement: "The Government should not rush to proceed without holding the full impact assessment they have promised. Plain packaging has failed to cut smoking rates, has not deterred youth smokers and has been accompanied by a dramatic growth of the black market."
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