Why Harrogate’s MP supports plain packs for cigarettes

Harrogate MP backs plain cigarette packages
Harrogate MP backs plain cigarette packages

Removing the branding from cigarette packaging will remove the attraction of smoking, according to Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.

Mr Jones’ views come as the government plans to bring into force legislation for plain cigarette packaging before the general election, including giving a free vote for MPs.

The move follows years of delay and conflicting claims about the success of the scheme in Australia but, Mr Jones said he would be ‘fully supportive’ of the proposal.

He said: “I will be very supportive of this policy, even though it is not without its controversy, as it is part of a broader strategy to combat the use of tobacco.

“In the UK, 600 children start smoking every day and this policy is primarily aimed at them as I think the branding of the packets is a key part of the attraction.

“I hope that removing the branding will help tackle the attraction. In his report on the subject, Sir Cyril Chantler also recommended that we proceed with this.

“This should also be seen in a broader context as it will come in with the law stopping smoking in cars carrying children and adults buying them for children under legal age.”

The move, made by the health minister Jane Ellison on Thursday, January 22, will make brightly coloured and slickly designed packs illegal however there have been concerns about its implications including on tobacco smuggling.

However, North Yorkshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant has welcomed Ms Ellison’s announcement, believing it is part of a ‘number of measures promoting a smoke free generation’.

He said: “Taking away the branding on cigarette packages is one of the parts in making it less glamorous.

“People can take up smoking at any age but a lot of smokers are established in their late teenage years and, in particular, there is a lot of smoking amongst young women.

“Some of that comes from the glamour of keeping their weight down but this is basically taking away that aspect.

“It’s one of the many measures we are hoping will stop people smoking but it’s important to say that it’s not the only one.”

As part of an overall process to improve health and well-being in the county, NYCC residents are being consulted on for the draft Tobacco Control Strategy.

The strategy outlines five tobacco control priorities including preventing children from smoking, supporting smokers to quit and making a smoke-free lifestyle the norm.