Plain packaging for cigarettes – a momentous step forward

Plain packaging for cigarettes – a momentous step forward

Many of you will have heard the great news from late Wednesday night, that the government now plan to make it compulsory for tobacco to be sold in drab standardised packaging, instead of the glitzy packs currently used by tobacco companies to attract young smokers. Here, Dr Penny Woods, Head of the BLF, talks about why this is such great news, and how the BLF and BLF supporters can be very proud if this policy becomes law!


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20 Replies

  • Natrul say's it all is easy to hide damage dose behind plain packets

    Be fraudsters counterfeiters dream now.

    So now all these un known substances people are guna be somking is guna do nothing for peoples health or well being.

    Queues in hospitals will get longer as they will be inandated

    With new forms of resporty illness bit like that lad on her with is gas mask.

    A dont think this anything to celebrate unless your counterfeiter

  • agreed bad news good for counterfeiters !!

  • Hi,

    Given the graphic health warnings and individual markings that will be on the new packs, there is absolutely no reason to believe they will be easier to fake.

    An independent review, conducted for the government by a leading doctor, looked at this issue, and found no evidence at all that standardised packaging would lead to an increase in the tobacco black market.

    Although the tobacco industry has claimed that standardised packaging will lead to an increase in illicit tobacco, they have yet to provide any evidence to support this claim.

    If you are interested in finding out more please visit our website:

    Melanie from the BLF

  • Govermeant doctors think i can speak for most on here when i say we have all or nearly experianced govermeants doctors

    And are fully SP up on them HE / SHE DIDN'T Work for Capita Or Atos by any chance

    And most importantly did anyone ask eh

    Only good thing people those with sence will think F## that given they dont know what they will be smoking so yes on that i agree

    Now its just work place polution Asbestos free Schools should be next campaign

  • I just hope this new packaging will work and stop people from starting smoking in the first place.

  • Fantastic news.

  • i wonder if this WILL make a difference, ? ? i cant see it to be honest, but of course better trying something than nothing .

    i just wish the kids could be made to see the real dangers of smoking, i don't know the answers, but it breaks my heart seeing them smoking, i have went up, spoke to them, with my portable oxygen on my back,and told them why i'm wearing this , they were very polite,even put their ciggies out, but i do wonder if i made any difference.

    regards jimmy

  • Glitzy packets? Do kids care about the packaging? Won't they just ask for them by brand name? Wish it would make a difference but can't see it having any real effect.

  • Hi. I live in Sydney, the plain packaging with the photos on the front have been here for quite a while now. Studies showed that it didnt make a great deal of difference to sales.if you want a ciggie plain packaging won't stop you also the packets are hidden from view in supermarkets and newsagents etc. leelee

  • Has hiding them from view changed Anything? i doubt it

    Neither will this.

    How much effect has all the advertising n nasty pictures done? folk have just bought a cig case to hide al that.

    Still, I suppose the Gov can say that they are doing something, which is All this is - a show.

    The Gov Don't want you to stop smoking, think of all that lost tax

    And the Only really effective means of quitting, E cigs, are being attacked from the pharma and tobbacco companies

    This is lipgloss, nothing more.

  • The comment and the proposals are misleading, they will not be in drab packaging at all. If that were the case then I would say great.

    The horrific pictures are off putting and in my opinion bordering on offensive. I don't want to see some of these pictures but how to tell my smoking friends to hide the packet if I am with them!

    Grey/ Black packaging with only the brand name and obligatory health warning is sufficient. At some point we all have to accept that people have their own choices in life, smoking and drinking are but two life choices. Governments have tried to tax these items to penalise people just a shame more of that income hasn't gone to treat those affected by the results. Governments ban these activities in enclosed spaces for smoking and open public places for drinking but in the end people will do what they will do.

  • Won't make a haporth of difference - they've had black lungs (fake) and cancerous growths plastered all over them since I was smoking, over five years ago - smokers just get habituated and ignore them; this was always a non-starter. To explain my parenthesis on black lungs it's been shown that these were lungs "touched up" - if smokers lungs were really like that why would they be routinely used in transplant procedures? Pure gold for the smugglers though.

    As to banning - since when did prohibition work on any level, except to enrich criminals?

  • As an Ex 40 a day man I do think it is a move in the right direction and maybe a total ban next. I do see that it opens up the dodgy end even more.

  • When I was 14, it was normal practise to buy 5 cigarettes at a time, and they used to put them in a little white bag. I can't see how plain packaging will make any difference whatsoever, unfortunately.

  • I'm so pleased you are cock a hoop at this decision....another lip service decision. A few years ago they decided to hit the young smoker hard by making packets of ten cigarettes more expensive that twenty, pro rata. A good shot to the foot....bulls eye. They hadn't the sense to see that the underage smoker already buys in twenties by clubbing together with their mates. They have to get someone to buy fags on their behalf and so to only buy ten would be a waste of opportunity.

    If this or any other government was serious and I mean serious about reducing the number of smokers, they would force the cigarette manufacturers to remove the added chemical that they put in. Chemicals are added to increase addiction and to ensure the cigarette doesn't go out if it's not puffed on. They have recently taken this in hand but not removed it altogether but the addictive chemicals stay. The government is too reliant on the revenue for cigarettes...not just from the purchase price but the NI and income tax of those involved in the production and delivery of tobacco products and the import duty that it gains when the raw products are landed at our docs. I don't know of anyone who would buy a packet of cigarettes because they like the carton. They normally buy by price and cigarettes they enjoy smoking. Status symbol cigarettes went out in the 70's.

  • Just as a matter of interest, is the number (bottom left) on the above packets the corresponding number of the brand, or is it the amount of cigarettes per pack? The packs, as photographed seem a funny size and shape.

  • The problem is most people go to France to buy the cigarettes because they are much cheaper than our tax loaded ones we sell. I do hope this works having COPD is the worst things we live with it daily

  • Any move to highlight the dangers of smoking are welcome but really, it would not have stopped me smoking for the 40 years that I did. being diagnosed with COPD 10 years ago stopped me instantly but sadly too late. Seeing my Father pass at 52 with lung cancer failed to stop me so what good plain packaging? I suppose for all the years I smoked I could not see how crazy it is to put something wrapped in paper into your mouth and set fire to it!!! So packaging is not going to have much affect.

  • I don't know about anyone else but I am quite disillusioned that BLF are following the company line on smoking cessation rather than thinking for themselves and listening to what we are saying.

    Can't Dr Penny Woods and company think outside the box? They are in a good position to conduct their own survey and to be in closer touch with what their members think. I am not saying they are not acting in good faith but no wonder we are not much further forward in understanding why people smoke and the messages that would hit home. I don't think we will be seeing more information out in the public domain about COPD in the forseeable future.

    Putting on graphic images and plain packaging is silly . People need proper information not sensationalism.

    A comprehensive and realistic campaign should concentrate much more on the common lung illnesses and living with breathlessness and pain for many years. Everyone knows they will never get lung cancer or tumours, but living with sob and oxygen are another matter. Smokers aren't stupid you know so why bombard them with imagines they just laugh at and change the colour of the packaging?

    Do the powers that be think smokers are really going to say 'Oh look at that awful plain

    packaging, that's put me right off'. Or 'My fags are hidden away - oh I won't bother buying some now then'. The only people it is hitting is the poor shop assistant! Or 'Look at that picture of black lungs and tumors - well I didn't know that - it's too late for me then so might as well carry on, you have to die of something don't you?' Cue laughter.

  • Hi all,

    Thank you for your comments. Smoking rates have been falling consistently in the UK, and this is thanks to a combination of different steps that have been taken over the years (advertising ban, age of sale limit, public smoking ban…). As you all know we are still not there yet and hundreds of young people are still taking it up every day. The tobacco companies say themselves that they use their packaging to attract new smokers and young people have told us that they are influenced them. Advertising was banned over a decade ago, but tobacco companies are still able to advertise their brand on their packets, standardised packaging is the final step in closing that advertising loop hole.

    Standardised packaging is just one of the many campaigns and areas that the BLF works on. We have, for example been working very closely with Public Health England to help them with their Breathlessness campaign which they are going to launch in February. We also campaign in Parliament for more to be done for people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD, and improving early diagnosis. Many of these things happen behind the scenes but we promise that we are doing all that we can to help improve the lives of those affected by lung condition. If you are interested in finding out more about the work that we do please visit our Campaigns page.

    If you haven’t yet read Penny’s blog please do as she outlines why standardised packaging is important.

    Thanks, Melanie from the BLF

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