As of 2016, branding on cigarette packaging will be banned in the UK. With legislation approved on the 11th March 2015, Britain's parliament has voted in favour of banning branding on cigarette packs by 367 votes to 113. However, the tobacco industry which is worth an estimated £19.43 billion in the UK, is threatening legal action as a result.
This dramatic change to the law comes as a way of helping to improve public health and reduce the amount of child smokers. This change is also set to decrease the amount of profit made by tobacco companies. Coming into force by May 2016, Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison has argued that "we want all children in our country to grow up free from the burden of disease that tobacco brings".
However, final approval has still not been granted as this proposal must still be debated and passed by the upper house of parliament before becoming law.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco is responsible for 6 million deaths a year globally with an estimated rise to 8 million by 2030. A recent opinion poll carried out in February by YouGov has revealed that 72% of the British public supported plain packaging, with only 15% against the change.
However, in stark contrast, tabacco companies have fiercely resisted this new legislation suggesting it will infringed upon their intellectual property rights. This comes as product names will have to be printed in standardised fonts. In addition to this this they have also argued that it will lead to increase in both counterfeit goods and smuggling.
But what do you think?