63% back plain cigarette packages
Almost two-thirds of people in the UK back proposals to strip cigarette packages of their logos, a survey suggests.
The questionnaire, conducted with 2,000 adults on behalf of Cancer Research UK, found that 63% were in favour of plain packs.
On Saturday, Australia will become the first country in the world to put all tobacco products in standardised packs. Cigarette packs and other products will just have the name of the brand and warnings will be visible.
The law bans the use of logos, brand imagery, symbols, other images, colours and promotional text. Packs will all be in a plain dark brown colour, displaying a graphic health warning with the name of the brand printed but in a standard colour, position, font size and style.
Earlier this year the British Government launched a consultation on plans to introduce mandatory standardised packaging for tobacco products. Health campaigners have welcomed the proposal, but opponents claimed it would lead to increased smuggling and job losses.
Information generated by the consultation, which closed in August, is still being analysed by health officials.
Charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said the main purpose of standardised packaging is to dissuade children from smoking.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: "The tobacco industry is terrified of the removal of the last vestiges of advertising from their products and is spending millions of pounds in the UK to fight the measure. We trust our Government will calmly review the evidence and not be swayed by the distorted misinformation put out by the tobacco industry and its allies."
Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "With so many children starting to smoke each year, the Government must show strong leadership to reduce the deadly lure of cigarettes. Smoking causes at least 14 different cancers as well as a long list of other illnesses. So it's vital the Government introduces standardised packaging as soon as possible, giving millions of children one less reason to start smoking."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "The Government has an open mind on this issue and any decisions to take further action will be taken only after full consideration of the consultation responses, evidence and other relevant information."