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Over 235,000 petition against plain packaging

Wed 8th August 2012, posted by editor

Huge protest against excessive regulation and the nanny state

Over 235,000 people have signed a petition against plain packaging of tobacco.

The petition, organised by the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, was delivered today to the Department of Health.

Standardised packaging of tobacco is the subject of a public consultation that closes on Friday 10th August.

The Hands Off Our Packs campaign was launched in February by the smokers’ lobby group Forest which opposes the idea.

Head of the campaign Angela Harbutt said:

"Plain packaging is not about health. It’s about denormalising a legal product and stigmatising millions of consumers. 

"People aren't stupid. They know that if tobacco is sold in dull, drab packets then alcohol, fast food and fizzy drinks will also be targeted.

“Over two hundred thousand people have spoken and the message is clear. Plain packaging is not welcome in Britain.”

She added:

“We were overwhelmed with requests from retailers, packaging companies and private individuals asking for petition pads and postcards. 

"The result is one of the largest ever protests against excessive regulation and the nanny state.”

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“There is no evidence that standardised packaging will have any health benefits. Advocates base their arguments not on facts but on speculation.

"This and other petitions against plain packaging represent a huge setback for anti-tobacco campaigners who argue that the measure has overwhelming public support.

“Given the strength of opposition to plain packaging, from retailers and shop workers to police officers and consumers, we urge the Government to reject this ill-conceived idea.”


Notes to editors:

1. The government began a 12-week consultation on standardised (or ‘plain’) packaging of tobacco on 16 April 2012. The consultation was due to end on 10 July 10. On 7 July the Department of Health announced a four-week extension to the consultation that now closes Friday 10 August. 

2. The Hands Off Our Packs campaign is owned and managed by Forest with the support of British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher Limited. Forest represents adults who choose to consume tobacco and non-smoking adults who are tolerant of other people's consumption of tobacco.

3. Hi-res images of Hands Off Our Packs campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament are available to download and use here:


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Hands Off Our Packs is supported by adults from all walks of life. They include smokers and non-smokers who are sick of being patronised by the tobacco control industry.

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In 2012 the Government held a public consultation on whether the UK should adopt standardised (or 'plain') packaging for tobacco products. In total the consultation received over 665,000 responses, with a substantial majority (427,888) opposed to the policy. In November 2013 the Government announced a further review of the evidence on standardised packaging and commissioned paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler submit a report by the end of March 2014. The report was published on April 3 when public health minister Jane Ellison simultaneously announced that it was "minded" to proceed with the policy subject to a "final short consultation". To make your views known please visit our NO PRIME MINISTER microsite NOW! To receive updates about our campaign please enter your details below.

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