Plain packs delay

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Given that MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of legislation enabling the introduction of plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products, it is no surprise that the tobacco industry and its supporters are desperately hoping that time will run out for the ensuing regulations to be voted on before the May election (Letters, 15 January).

We’ve heard them demand that we wait for more evidence. We have strong evidence that removing the brands and logos from packaging makes tobacco less appealing to young people and existing smokers.

We’ve heard them demand that we wait to see what happens in Australia.

Since plain packs were introduced in Australia tobacco consumption has continued to fall, shops have made the transition smoothly, and illicit tobacco has not increased.

The new line is that we must wait on Europe before acting.

Yes, the European Union had to be given a six-month notification of the proposed regulations and that period will not end until 2 March.

But in suggesting that no preparations or arrangements can be made during that timescale Forest, which runs Hands off Our Packs, and the Scottish Grocer’s Federation betray their real fear – that democratically elected MPs will bring in this important health measure.

If MPs in this parliament are denied the chance to vote through a measure designed to protect children from addiction and ill health, then Westminster’s coalition government will have chosen to side with a vile industry whose profits depend on hooking in the next generation.

Is that really the legacy on 
public health they want us to 
remember?

Sheila Duffy

ASH Scotland

Edinburgh

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