16:31 13 August 2012
A major UK review into how cigarettes are marketed to smokers, is due to close after being granted a month-long extension to allow for unexpectedly strong public interest to be factored into the conclusion.
Under the proposal set forth, cigarette packs will be blank aside from the name and health warnings across a dark green package.
The move aims to discourage young people from taking up smoking and it would hit the big tobacco firms hard as they have to forfeit their logos, font choices, colours and other design factors.
Four months ago, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley made a bold statement that he wanted tobacco companies to have "no business" whatsoever in Britain.
In 2012, it became illegal for large shops to have tobacco displays. Smaller shops will have until 2015 to adapt to this law.
So far, it's believed that Australia is the only nation that has formally gone ahead with the plain packaging policy. However, manufacturers have took the government there to court.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaign group Ash, was quoted by the BBC: "Plain, standardised packaging of its lethal products frightens Big Tobacco silly because it threatens its profits.
"That's why the industry has devoted millions of pounds to put pressure on politicians and prevent the government from going ahead with this measure."
Balancing the argument, Simon Clark, director of Forest, a lobby group on the side of the tobacco industry, told the BBC: "There is no evidence that standardised packaging will have any health benefits.
"Advocates base their arguments not on facts but on speculation."
Expect the government's decision to arrive within the coming month.
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