The consultation will ask individuals whether they think standardised packaging will have an impact on people’s health and reduce the uptake of smoking.
The consultation suggests for the first time what requirements for standardised packaging could consist of, including no branding, a uniform colour and a standard font and text for any writing on the pack.
The consultation will seek views on whether:
- tobacco packaging should remain unchanged;
- plain packaging should be adopted; or
- a different option should be considered.
Respondents will also be asked to consider what the specific impact of standardised packaging could be, including whether it could:
- reduce the appeal of tobacco products;
- increase the effectiveness of health warnings;
- impact on the tobacco industry and retailers;
- encourage consumers to buy tobacco products abroad for their own consumption.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“In Wales 6 per cent of 11 to 16 year-olds report smoking at least once a week and it continues to be the largest single preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Wales, causing around 5,650 deaths each year. Almost half of all long-term smokers will die in their middle age as a result of tobacco use.
“The significant burden of illness due to smoking also has major costs for the NHS in Wales. Treating smoking-related diseases cost NHS Wales an estimated £386 million in 2007/08; this is equivalent to £129 per head or 7% of total healthcare expenditure in Wales.
“The Welsh Government has worked closely the Department of Health on the consultation being launched today, which reflects the commitment in our Tobacco Control Action Plan to address the issues of affordability, attractiveness and access to tobacco products, especially by young people.
“I would encourage as many people in Wales as possible to give their views on whether tobacco packing should remain unchanged, plain packaging should be adopted or a different option should be considered.”
The consultation will be open for responses from 16 April to 10 July. Any person, business or organisation with an interest is encouraged to respond.
Any decisions to take further policy action on tobacco packaging will be taken only after full consideration is given to consultation responses, evidence and other relevant information.