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"Plain packaging is a free speech issue"

Tue 24th April 2012, posted by editor

Now online magazine Spiked joins "coalition of the sane"

One of Britain's leading online magazines has declared its support for the Hands Off Our Packs campaign against the plain packaging of tobacco.

Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked, which focuses on politics, culture and society from a humanist and libertarian viewpoint, said: “Plain packaging is a free speech issue, plain and simple.

“In demanding that cigarettes be stuffed into boxes with no branding or logos on them, the authorities are denying companies the right to publish perfectly reasonable and inoffensive material: the names of their products.

“In any other area of life, such a heavy-handed obliteration of the freedom to state one’s name in public would be frowned upon. And so it should be frowned upon here too.

“Anyone who believes in liberty, democracy and choice should support the campaign to get the state’s hands off our packs.”

Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said: "We are thrilled that such an important and influential magazine has joined our coalition of the sane.

“There is now a wide spectrum of opposition to plain packaging - political, economic and social. In comparison, support for plain packs seems limited to a few nanny state parliamentarians and health groups, often funded by government, who appear determined to impose their will on the rest of society, no matter what the costs.”

Articles on plain packaging will appear in Spiked on Tuesday 24 April 2012.


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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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