British cigarette branding plan retains

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The British authorities is still looking at banning branding on cigarette packages despite the fact that it disregarded recommendations from its legislative agenda presented in parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said.

Britain had seemed to become the first European nation to make tobacco companies to remove brand names and to use standardized packaging, a move opposed by the cigarette makers, which sees it as affecting their earnings.

Queen Elizabeth made no reference to the strategies in a speech placing the government’s legislative plans for the year ahead, attracting criticism from opposition lawmakers and dissatisfaction from anti-smoking groups.

Nevertheless, Cameron told parliament that the authorities were still looking at the issue.

The Department of Health carried out four months of consultations in 2012 to collect evidence on whether plain tobacco packaging would help young smokers stop smoking and help existing smokers forget the habit.

In 2012, Australia enforced a law declaring tobacco products have to be sold in olive green packages with graphic health warning labels.

Cuba, whose high class cigars are world famous and feature exclusive packages, released a challenge against the Australian law at the World Trade Organisation last week.

Despite its lack from the government’s plans, the chief of the opposition Labour Party suggested to help speed through any proposed regulation.

Miliband also asked the role of government adviser Lynton Crosby in the decision, indicating his consultancy firm had worked with cigarette makers.

A spokesman for David Cameron said Crosby cannot influence over the contents of the Queen’s speech.
Campaign groups wrote to Health Minister Jeremy Hunt indicating dissatisfaction over the lack of the plan from the government’s programme.

“The failure to bring forward regulation fatally undermines the Government’s credibility on public health concerns,” said the letter from the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of over 100 health organisations.

Cigarette makers such as Philip Morris and British American Tobacco are worried about that standardized packaging would eat into sales of higher margin brands and say it would lead to the global black market in tobacco.

Imperial Tobacco shares have grown slightly since reports published in the British media that Cameron had dropped the initiative.

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