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Britain to ban branding on cigarette packaging?

{easycomments}The UK government launched plans on Monday, February 1, 2010 to cut in half the number of smokers by the end of the decade.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham is even considering banning vending machines and forcing tobacco companies to remove all branding from their packaging.

"Now that we've banned advertising and will soon see an end to attractive displays in shops, the only remaining method of advertising tobacco is the packaging," Burnham said in a Reuters article.

Twenty-one percent of the British population smoke, and smoking accounts for 80,000 deaths each year.

“The number of people lighting up in Britain has fallen by a quarter in the past decade as a result of various policies including a ban on advertising, putting grisly pictures on packets and raising the age of sale for tobacco to 18.”

The moves being considered are focused on getting the young to never take up the habit.

"One day, in the not too distant future, we'll look back and find it hard to remember why anyone ever smoked in the first place," said Burnham.

A pretty naive view of addiction, I would say. And I’m not sure that robbing tobacco companies of any branding opportunity on the package itself would decrease use. I could see young people digging the fact that their cigarettes come in a brown paper “outlawed” package.

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