Smokers’ lobby group, Forest, is urging consumers and retailers to “defend Britain from excessive regulation” in the light of the proposed consultation on plain tobacco packaging.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said: “The consultation on plain packaging threatens to be a farce. Andrew Lansley says he is open minded yet he clearly supports plain packaging even before the consultation has begun.
“Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been spent in one region alone trying to persuade people to support plain packaging. Government is effectively using taxpayers’ money to lobby itself. This scandalous abuse of public money must stop now.
“Plain packaging is another step towards the denormalisation of a legal product. It is yet another attack on ten million adult consumers.
“The consultation on plain packaging has nothing to do with health. It’s all about Andrew Lansley. The health secretary is using the consultation to curry favour with health professionals, many of whom are less than impressed with the changes he is making to the NHS.
“He possibly believes that by extending the war on tobacco he will buy himself some time to win their support.
“Despite our cynicism we urge consumers and retailers to make their voices heard and help defend Britain from excessive regulation.”