United Kingdom to introduce graphic images on cigarette packets

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

The current warning messages on packets

The United Kingdom is set to become the second European country to place graphic images on cigarette packets. 15 different images are to be placed on the packs of all brands of cigarettes. They will be introduced on October 1. The images will be introduced onto all other forms of tobacco by 2010.

The written warnings were introduced in 2003 and have been deemed a success by the Department of Health. A spokesman said that the written warnings had been a success with research showing more than 90,000 smokers had been motivated to call the NHS quit line because of them.

Despite being the only the second country in Europe to introduce the images several other countries have already placed them onto packets. These include Canada, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Singapore.

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Chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "Written health warnings have encouraged many smokers to stop. These new stark picture warnings emphasis the harsh health realities of continuing to smoke."

Not everyone is welcoming the new images. The smoking lobby group, Forest, said smokers were being unfairly targeted and called the images intrusive and offensive. Simon Clark, director of Forest, said the group supported education efforts "but these pictures are designed not just to educate but to shock and coerce people to give up a legal product".

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