Now is the final chance for retailers to tell the Government what effect plain tobacco packaging would have on their businesses, suppliers have warned.

Earlier this month health ministers said England would be moving towards standardised packaging of tobacco products, following the review carried out by Sir Cyril Chantler.

Chantler’s review looked at the effect of plain packaging in Australia since the beginning of 2013, but did not prove conclusively that plain packs would reduce the number of children taking up smoking.

However, Health Minister Jane Ellison said the report made a “compelling” case that standardised packaging would have health benefits.

 Since plain packs were introduced the illicit trade Down Under has increased from 11.8% to 13.3% of total consumption

Since plain packs were introduced the illicit trade Down Under has increased from 11.8% to 13.3% of total consumption.

Colin Wragg, Imperial Tobacco’s head of UK corporate and legal affairs, said there are sufficient tobacco control measures already in the UK – such as the display ban and the European Union Tobacco Products Directive.

Crucially, there will now be a “short, final” consultation, due to be published at the end of April, before the Government makes a decision.

Catherine Humphreys-Scott, corporate communications manager for British American Tobacco, told Retail Express: “This isn’t over the line yet. Retailers and wholesalers both need to speak out and tell them what is wrong with this policy – show them that this is not going to help politicians win the support of people in their communities.”

*See our Tobacco Law feature on p20 of Retail Express on April 22.