In the ongoing parliament session, the British government will be seeking a vote on forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packaging. The opposition Labor party also welcomed the announcement, indicating that such a measure would be likely to pass in parliament, but it was criticized by business groups that said it would encourage a black market.
The regulations follow suit after a similar step by Australia, which introduced standard drab packaging for cigarettes in 2012, and the step was welcomed by health charities.
Jane Ellison, a junior minister in charge of public health, said, "This government is completely committed to protecting children from the harm that tobacco causes. That's why I'm announcing today that we will be bringing forward legislation for standardized packaging before the end of this parliament."
Cancer Research UK chief executive Harpal Kumar said, "Two-thirds of smokers start before the age 18, beginning an addiction which will kill half of them if they become long-term smokers. By stripping cigarette packs of their marketing features, we can reduce the number of young people lured into an addiction, the products of which are death and disease."
These regulations would initially apply only to England and would have to be confirmed by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if they are to be introduced there.