Backing for plain packaging of cigarettes by Hartlepool councillors

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HARTLEPOOL councillors have once again supported plans for plain packaging for cigarettes.

The support comes as the Government is set to carry out an independent review of cigarette packaging in England, amid calls for action to discourage young smokers.

Prime Minister David Cameron had appeared to distance himself from uniform packaging in July when he said further evidence was needed to show whether plain packaging would be effective.

But the U-turn has been welcomed after Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said recently it was now time to “examine the emerging evidence” on a policy shift.

The issue was raised at a recent meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee.

Labour councillor Marjorie James said: “The Government had gone a bit wishy, washy and decided not to progress but I want to see it brought in sooner rather than later.

“It will make a big difference, especially from preventing young people starting to smoke by making them less enticing. The Government needs to bring it on and bring it on fast.”

Last year Hartlepool’s health and wellbeing board backed the Plain Packs Protect campaign, which aims to stop children lighting up, and called for plain standardised packs with images of health problems caused by smoking.

Health chiefs have said there is evidence plain packs are less attractive to young people and strengthen the impact of health warnings.