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Plain cigarette packaging – Ann McKechin M.P. Glasgow North

Ann McKechin MP is holding an Adjournment debate on Wednesday 21 January 2015 to address a major failed reform of the Coalition Government – the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.


Despite almost three years of consultations and reviews, and clear evidence to support regulation, there has been silence. Ann wants to know why Prime Minister David Cameron has been stalling on this important issue, and hopes the Government can answer that question during her adjournment debate on the topic, when she will press them to get serious about public health rather than boPlain-packsw down to the tobacco lobby.


Ann says, “the need for the debate is simple: plain packaging works. Too many people suffer from diseases brought on by smoking, and too many young people are picking up the habit for the issue to be ignored until after the election – sadly my own city, Glasgow, has one of the worst records for smoking related premature deaths in the country. Of those who take up smoking, only about half will manage to stop before they die.


“Figures show that in Australia, where plain packaging legislation was introduced in 2012 and generic packaging before that, smoking rates have fallen dramatically. Daily smoking levels are at a historic low of 12.8%, and the average number of cigarettes smoked is now just 96 per week compared to 111 in 2010. Fewer young people are trying cigarettes in Australia, and those who still do are older than in the past. Opposition to plain packaging amongst the public also fell steeply after it became law. We need the same change in the UK.


“Time is running out. The Prime Minister must allow Parliament to vote on plain packaging regulations before the election. He must heed the advice of health professionals, 4000 of whom signed an open letter to the Guardian demanding urgent action, and ignore the protestations of his Australian spin doctor Lynton Crosby, whose tobacco-industry links are said to have scuppered the push for plain packaging in 2012 when the government pushed the issue into the long grass. Too many people are needlessly dying prematurely because of smoking and too many young people are still being hooked – let’s use the next few weeks to save lives and reduce the burden on our NHS. Is the PM listening?”