U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has scrapped plans to force all cigarettes to be sold in plain packs, according to a story published today in The Sun.
Health ministers had been considering the move for a year. Proponents had insisted making packages bland would put smokers off — and stop kids from picking up the habit.
Cameron initially backed the plan, but has been persuaded it would damage the packaging industry. There were also concerns it could cost £3 billion in lost tax revenue and tie up the Commons in bitter arguments.
Cameron has now ordered the proposed law to be pulled from next week’s Queen’s Speech.
A Whitehall source said: “Plain packaging may or may not be a good idea, but it’s nothing to do with the government’s key purpose. The PM is determined to strip down everything we do so we can concentrate all our efforts on voters’ essentials. That means growth, immigration and welfare reform.”
Officials in Australia, the first to enforce uniform packaging, have admitted there was still no evidence that they cut smoking.