MPs have voted in favour of introducing tobacco plain packaging from next year.
In a vote in the House of Commons today, 367 voted in favour of standardised packaging while 113 voted against.
The new regulations will mean the manufacturing of branded packs must stop on May 20, 2016, followed by a full introduction of plain packs in all outlets by May 21, 2017.
Shortly after this verdict, Daniel Torras, managing director of JTI, said: "The Government is using the General Election as the finishing line and has hurried this policy along, stifling debate among MPs and giving little opportunity for opposing views to be aired."
Chief executive of the ACS James Lowman also released a statement. He said: "We have consistently told Ministers and policy makers that the introduction of standardised packaging will place significant operational burdens on retailers."
"We are disappointed with this decision, and would have liked to see a review of existing and upcoming tobacco control measures, such as the tobacco display ban, before the Government introduce more regulations on small stores."
Twitter reacted immediately:
Tobacco manufacturers argue Government is providing a "blueprint for counterfeit cigarettes."
"We have repeatedly warned policy-makers that plain packaging is a smugglers’ charter. The organised crime gangs behind the global black market in illegal tobacco welcome this legislation, which will provide them with a blueprint for counterfeiting cigarettes," added Torras.
"Illegal tobacco funds serious crime and terrorism, it steals trade from legal businesses and makes cheap unregulated cigarettes accessible to children. The black market is a huge problem and plain packaging will make it much worse.”