Speculation is mounting that the government will press ahead with plans to put all tobacco products in plain packaging.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is expected to unveil the government’s tobacco control plan this week, in a move timed to coincide with National No Smoking Day on Wednesday.

The change would prevent manufacturers from using any logos or colours on their packaging.

Lansley is also likely to reveal whether the proposed display ban will be implemented. As it stands large supermarkets will have to cover up the tobacco products from October with smaller stores going dark two years later in 2013.

The health secretary shocked the industry last November when he came out in favour of plain packaging. But it is still unclear whether the idea would replace a display ban or be implemented alongside it.

In opposition the Conservatives and Lib Dems both opposed the display ban, arguing there was not enough evidence that a reduction in youth smoking would outweigh the negative impact on the retail trade.

Should the government introduce plain packs, the UK will become the first country in the European Union to do so. Australia plans to bring in plain packaging next year.

Read more
Focus On Tobacco (19 February 2011)
Consumers choose price over branding in tobacco (20 December 2010)
Lansley’s vision: is the health secretary being myopic? (analysis; 4 December 2010)
Are Lansley’s plain fag pack proposals fake, feint or sop? (analysis; 27 November 2010)