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‘Plain packet’ cigarettes plan in doubt

By Jeremy Laurance

Doubt has been cast on the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes after the Government gave the idea only lukewarm support.

Plain brown or white cigarette packs carrying nothing but a health warning have been widely promoted by the anti-smoking lobby as an important measure to deter young smokers from adopting the habit that kills 80,000 people a year.

But in a report published on No Smoking Day yesterday, the Government offered only muted backing for the idea, committing to “consult on options to reduce the promotional impact of tobacco packaging, including plain packaging, before the end of 2011”.

Analyst at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, described the announcement as a “big relief” for the tobacco companies which had expected tougher measures.

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