Labour Was Also Against Plain Packaged Tobacco

cigarettes in plain packagesLast week the Labour Party accused the Government of giving in to lobbyists after the proposal to put cigarettes in plain packages was dropped, however, it would now appear that Labour were also against plain packages for tobacco when they were in Government.

Between December 2008 and November 2009, 3 Labour Ministers, including 2 Health Secretary’s, gave speeches against the proposal to sell tobacco in plain packages.

Alan Johnson, Secretary of State Health, 16 December 2008, “I have to say, however, that despite the fact that the right hon. Gentleman is quite right about the huge response in favour of plain packaging, there is no evidence base that it actually reduces the number of young children smoking.  We want to keep that under review, and when there is an evidence base for it, it could well be another important measure to meet our goal, which is to reduce the number of young people smoking.”

Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister, 25 June 2009, “No studies have been undertaken to show that plain packaging of tobacco would cut smoking uptake among young people or enable those who want to quit to do so.  Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would undoubtedly need strong and convincing evidence of the benefits to health, as well as its workability, before this could be promoted and accepted at an international level – especially as no country in the world has introduced plain packaging.”

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State Health, November 2009, “No studies have shown that introducing plain packaging of tobacco products would cut the number of young people smoking, or enable people who want to quit, to do so.  Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would need strong and convincing evidence showing the health benefits of this policy before it would be acceptable at an international level.”

Perhaps the next time a Labour Shadow Minister or MP gets up to speak; they will have checked their previous speeches before they open their mouths.  We can but hope!

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