Commenting on the government's decision to launch a consultation on plain packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“It is remarkable that during a period of economic upheaval across Europe and the world, the coalition is willing to waste time engaging in this patronising consultation, which will not result in any tangible benefits to public health.
“David Cameron appears to be reneging on his promise that he would no longer treat adults like children, but would give them more responsibility over their lives.
“The coalition is now seriously considering banning British adults from looking at certain colour schemes. A more nannying and meddling policy is hard to imagine.
“It is impossible to believe that any adult in the country can be unaware of the health risks associated with smoking. No-one takes up smoking simply because they could not resist pretty colours on a packet.
“Those who will benefit the most from plain packaging will be organised crime networks who already control a substantial proportion of tobacco sales and whose lives will be made considerably easier should this policy be pursued.
“If we are serious about tackling underage smoking, we should be looking at the experience of successful countries - such as Germany – and improve education and increase enforcement at the point of sale, rather than indulging in this kind of nanny statism.”
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Notes to editors
“No more of a government treating everyone like children ...let's treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their lives.” – David Cameron quoted in The Observer  on 13thFeb 2011.
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