All cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco sold in the UK will have to appear in standard packaging following new legislation that comes into effect in May this year.
According to the legislation that was voted in by MPs last year, cigarettes and tobacco will no longer be sold in brightly coloured and glamorous stylish packs. The regulations were introduced after Australia saw a huge reduction in smoking after becoming the first country in the world to require cigarettes to be sold in standardised packaging in December 2012.
Helen Hatcher from the Quit Squad, a service run by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council, said:
“The Quit Squad welcomes this excellent move to introduce standardised packaging. After Australia introduced similar legislation, there was a successful reduction in smoking uptake among young people, a decline in exposure to second-hand smoke and a decline in the prevalence of smoking. Research shows that compared to people who smoked cigarettes from branded packs, smokers who were smoking from standardised packs were more likely to view their tobacco as being lower in quality and satisfaction, and were therefore more likely to think about quitting.
“Cigarettes enjoy enormous brand loyalty and teenagers are more heavily influenced by brands than adults. Tobacco companies target specific groups such as young female smokers by making packaging more appealing to them in terms of colour and style. Standardised packaging could help prevent future generations from taking up smoking by making cigarettes less appealing. Having health messages and mundane looking packets simply makes smoking less attractive. This is a great move which we welcome.”
The new legislation prohibits all trademarks, logos, colour schemes and graphics on packaging. Cigarette packets must also be cuboid in shape, contain a minimum of 20 cigarettes and include larger health warnings with no branding other than the product name in a standard font, size and colour.
Australia’s introduction of standardised packaging resulted in people finding their cigarettes less appealing, as a result people began hiding their packs in social situations, smoked less in outdoor restaurants, bars and cafés, and smoked fewer cigarettes overall. The legislation in Australia also resulted in a 78 percent increase in calls to smoking cessation telephone lines.
If you want to give up smoking, the Quit Squad is at hand to help, with smokers four times more likely to quit smoking with specialist help than without. In addition to drop-in clinics (no appointments required) and one-to-one sessions the Quit Squad also offers group sessions in the community and workplace, and operates across Lancashire.
For further details, telephone 0800 3286297, visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk, or follow the Quit Squad on Twitter @LancashireCare #QuitSquad. For further information on Smoke Free Pledges telephone 01706 871740 or visit www.lancashiresmokefreehomes.co.uk.