Huw Irranca-Davies has voted in favour of a law to introduce standardised packaging for cigarettes in the UK.
The draft Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 were laid before the House of Commons on 23 February and were approved by the House on 11 March. Mr Irranca-Davies was one of 367 MPs who voted in favour of the new law, 113 MPs voted against it. The law is expected to be approved by the House of Lords before the end of the parliamentary session.
These new regulations mean that, from 2016, all cigarette packaging will be identical except for the make and brand name, with health warnings accompanying graphic photos. Supporters of standardised packaging argue that making cigarette packets less appealing will prevent young people from taking up smoking in the first place.
The government-commissioned review by Sir Cyril Chantler concluded in April 2014 that, ‘standardised packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking’ and have a ‘positive impact’ on public health.
Cancer Research UK welcomed the new regulations, calling it ‘a huge victory for public health.’
Figures from Stop Smoking Wales reveal that tobacco use represents the single largest cause of avoidable deaths in Wales, causing almost one in five deaths. These figures also show that the equivalent of one classroom of children start smoking in Wales every day.
Speaking after the vote, Huw Irranca-Davies said, ‘The introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes is an important step forward in reducing the number of young people taking up smoking in Wales.’
‘As well as giving these children a better quality of life free from smoking-related illnesses, we will also relieve pressure on the NHS. Currently, treating diseases caused by smoking costs our NHS £2.7 billion each year.’