Smokers’ lobby group, Hands Off Our Packs, which is owned and managed by Forest (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco), say it is “delighted” the government has abandoned moves to introduce plain packaging for tobacco in the UK.
Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Angela Harbutt said: “We are delighted. The government conducted a public consultation on plain packaging in 2012 and half a million people opposed the measure.
“Ministers have listened to ordinary people. This is good news for those who believe in consumer freedom and are opposed to excessive regulation.
“It is vital that the government now represents the opinion of the British public at European Union level where unelected bureaucrats are recommending a series of measures that will severely restrict consumer choice on tobacco.”
Harbutt criticised the use of taxpayers’ money to support anti-tobacco campaigns: “We faced a vast state-funded campaign in favour of restricting branding on cigarette packaging, but hundreds of thousands of consumers fought back.
“Taxpayer funded groups claiming to represent the public have no genuine support base and are wholly reliant on government grants.
“We are pleased that their hysterical and self-serving demands have in this instance been rejected.”