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Scottish Liberal Democrats back standardisation of tobacco packaging

March 15, 2013 8:04 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have thrown their support behind theJim HumeJim Hume standardisation of tobacco packaging at their conference today (15th ). Such a move was adopted in Australia in 2011 and early signs are showing that it has had a positive impact.

The UK government is due to report back from its consultation on tobacco packaging, with the Scottish Government in broad support following on from the recent ban on tobacco vending and display.

The party has argued that standardisation of tobacco packaging would reduce the attractiveness ad appeal of tobacco products, increase the prominence and effectiveness of health warnings and reduce the ability of packaging to mislead smokers about the harms of smoking.

Commenting after the motion was passed, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP said:

"Standardising cigarette packaging is the next step towards removing the scourge of tobacco products which blight our homes and communities. Every year 13,000 people die from smoking related causes. This could put another block in the way of the needless deaths and illness caused by smoking.

"With the cigarette display and vending machine coming into place in Scotland in a couple of months, there is an opportunity to grab the momentum and take this progressive step forward. I hope that Scotland's Health Secretary Alex Neil will support our calls and liaise with UK ministers on the progress of this initiative.

"Studies from health organisations such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation have shown that young people's perception of tobacco can be heavily influenced by the design and branding of packaging. In Australia, where they are leading the way on efforts to change behaviour towards tobacco, the use of standardised packaging with front-of-pack health warning meant that three out of four occasional smokers more likely to quit.

"This is good news for our health services and better news for families affected by the dangers of tobacco. Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that standardisation of tobacco packaging is a necessary and important step towards a fairer society which gives our children the best start in life."