The Observer today reported that "The government is considering forcing tobacco companies to package their cigarettes in plain brown wrappers in a bid to de-glamorise smoking and stop young people taking up the habit". Other papers are now running the story online.
The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, is investigating the viability of introducing what would be one of the most radical public health measures ever implemented in the UK ...
His readiness to countenance such draconian action against cigarette manufacturers drew praise and delight from leading medical organisations. "We are very pleased that the health secretary supports the plain packaging of cigarettes. There is clear evidence that young people find packaging appealing," said a spokesman for the British Medical Association. "And we know that the tobacco industry spends huge amounts on this clever marketing to enhance their brands and increase sales."
In the words of The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again', "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss".
PS. The BBC contacted me for Forest's response while I was watching my son play rugby near Leighton Buzzard. I was so cold standing in the middle of a field in Bedfordshire that I'm not sure I made much sense. Click HERE.
The Daily Mail has a very short quote from me HERE.
Update ... Email received this evening:
Just read an article on proposed plain packaging. Are ministers completely mad. This will encourage counterfeit products which will be sold cheaper, with no tax revenue, and cause a major health risk as there would be no control on quality. Tar nic values would be random. This policy would actually cause a bigger risk to public health. Someone should make this clear to the idiots in Westminster.
Let's hope Conservative MPs get the message. We're not happy.