Consumer group calls for review of tobacco regulations

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Campaigners have called for an independent review of all tobacco regulations introduced in the UK since 2010, including plain packaging and the behind-the-counter display ban.

The call follows evidence that smoking levels have gone up since the introduction of plain packaging and other measures this time last year.

The figures, published this week by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, follows evidence that plain packaging has also failed to reduce smoking rates in Australia and France.

Simon Clark, director of the consumer group Forest, said: “The experience of Australia, France and Britain suggests that plain packaging doesn’t lead to a decline in smoking rates. Governments blunder on from one tobacco control measure to another, regardless of their impact.

“It’s time for an independent root and branch review of all the tobacco control measures introduced since 2010, including plain packaging and the behind-the-counter display ban.”

Clark added: “The failure of plain packaging is an indictment of the haste with which the policy was pushed through parliament before the 2015 general election.

“Plain packaging has nothing to do with health. The decision to introduce it in the UK was based not on evidence that it would reduce smoking rates but on party politics. It wasn’t right then and it isn’t right now.”

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