Friday, 13 April 2012

Plain To See

One of the BBCs favourite subjects was back in the frame today as it got terribly excited about the Government's latest anti-smoking measures:
The government is considering plans to strip all branding from cigarette packs sold in England in a bid to make smoking appear less attractive. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley told the BBC he hoped the ban would prevent people from taking up smoking and also help those trying to give up.
The government is to launch its consultation on the issue on Monday.
And there's a whiff of deja vu, this from 2010:
Cigarette packets should have plain packaging to make smoking less attractive, ministers have suggested.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said "glitzy designs on packets" attracted children to smoking and it made sense to look at "less attractive packaging".
I'm not sure what good plain packaging will achieve as there's a ban on displaying them in shops anyway. But of course logic doesn't come into it. No, not when the manufacture. presentation and sale of tobacco products comes under the authority of the European Union, notably Directive 2001/37/EC.

So naturally it comes as no surprise that in 2010 we had this:

An EU consultation document on revising the 2001/37/EC Directive. And Option 3 (page 7) says:
Option 3 - Introduce generic or plain packaging
Plain or generic packaging would standardise the appearance of tobacco packaging. Manufacturers would only be allowed to print brand and product names, the quantity of the product, health warnings and other mandatory information such as security markings.
The package itself would be plain coloured (such as white, grey or plain cardboard). The size and shape of the package could also be regulated.
The European Commission is currently deliberating the responses to the consultation and is due to make recommendations later this year.

Of course that the EU is considering such proposals and the UK have launched a consultation is entirely a coincidence. When the EU eventually gets round to making a decision, then by keep announcing proposals we can pretend it was our idea all along, aided and abetted by the great and the good in our media.


  1. Shame they don't apply these rules to condoms.

  2. :-) Condoms as you'd expect 'comes' under EU rules and plain packaging is allowed but it's not 'rigidly' enforced...