She denied the government was dragging its heels, saying the final legislation had to be “robust” and part of broader efforts to combat smoking and all “stakeholders” had to have their say.
But she said the government’s intention was “clear” and she promised changes before the next election in May 2015, although MPs would be given a vote on the proposals before they came into force.
A succession of Conservative backbenchers attacked the plan, saying it was an example of the “nanny state” and that there were enough warnings about the dangers of smoking already.
Robert Halfon, who successfully campaigned for a cut in bingo tax, said “Conservatives believe in freedom and the best way to stop people smoking is through education and not by banning things.”
He said there would be a “huge impact on small shops and small businesses” if standardised packaging went ahead.
Jacob Rees Mogg said Sir Cyril’s report had found it was too early to draw any any firm conclusions from the Australian legislation and said the findings were “indirect and speculative”.
“As the government may be taking away a freedom from the British people oughtn’t it to be more certain of its ground?” he asked.
Dame Angela Watkinson said “Nobody in this country smokes in ignorance and people who do so do it as a deliberate choice.”
Public health minister Jane Ellison said MPs would get a vote on the issue Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford backed a ban
Labour MP Diana Johnson said Dame Angela had accepted a gift from Japan Tobacco, makers of Benson and Hedges cigarettes. The register of members’ interests shows the Hornchurch MP accepted hospitality and two tickets to last year’s Chelsea Flower show, worth 1,260.
Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford, a dentist, backed the ban, telling those protesting against it “If I could arrange for them to come into an operating theatre to see the damage that oral cancer does to people they might actually change their mind.”
Most Labour MPs who spoke supported legislation but Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe warned about the impact on print workers in his constituency if branding was removed from cigarette packets.
The British Medical Association welcomed the minister’s statement but said there should be no further delays to legislation.
Dr Ram Moorthy, deputy chair of the BMA’s Board of Science, said “As doctors we see first hand every day the devastating effects of tobacco addiction and we call on the government to make a decision quickly and to introduce standardised packaging at the earliest possible opportunity in order to help put an end to a life long addiction that kills and destroys health.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said “The Welsh Government has long been a proponent of standardised packaging of tobacco products and we recognise that has the potential to be an important tool in our bid to reduce the harm from tobacco related illness.
“We are therefore delighted with today’s announcement that the UK government will go ahead with standardised packaging. This will also apply to Wales, following a short consultation on draft regulations.”
Candy and cookie makers want to keep names off e-cigarettes
The Girl Scouts of the USA and Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. are among several companies that have sent cease and desist letters to makers of the liquid nicotine demanding they stop using the Scouts/ AP
Owners of brands geared toward children of all ages are battling to keep notable names like Thin Mint, Tootsie Roll and Cinnamon Toast Crunch off the flavored nicotine used in electronic cigarettes.
Now the owners of those trademarks are fighting back to make sure their brands aren t being used to sell an addictive drug or make it appealing to to children.
The issue of illegally using well known brands on e cigarette products isn t new for some. For a couple of years, cigarette makers R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Philip Morris USA have fought legal battles with websites selling e cigarette liquid capitalizing on their Camel and Marlboro brand names and imagery.
The companies have since released their own e cigarettes but without using their top selling brand names.
It s the age old problem with an emerging market, said Linc Williams, board member of the American E liquid Manufacturing Standards Association and an executive at NicVape Inc., which produces liquid nicotine.
As companies goes through their maturity process of going from being a wild entrepreneur to starting to establish real corporate ethics and product stewardship, it s something that we re going to continue to see.
Williams said his company is renaming many of its liquids to names that won t be associated with well known brands. Some companies demanded NicVape stop using brand names such as Junior Mints on their liquid nicotine.
In other cases, the company is taking proactive steps to removing imagery and names like gummy bear that could be appealing to children.
Unfortunately it s not going to change unless companies come in and assert their intellectual property, he said.
And that s what companies are starting to do more often as the industry has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide, bringing the issue to the forefront.
We re family oriented. A lot of kids eat our products, we have many adults also, but our big concern is we have to protect the trademark, said Ellen Gordon, president and chief operating officer of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc.
When you have well known trademarks, one of your responsibilities is to protect (them) because it s been such a big investment over the years.
General Mills Inc., the Girl Scouts of the USA and Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. are among several companies that have sent cease and desist letters to makers of the liquid nicotine demanding they stop using the brands and may take further legal action if necessary.
The actions highlight the debate about the array of flavors available for the battery powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. The Food and Drug Administration last month proposed regulating electronic cigarettes but didn t immediately ban on fruit or candy flavors, which are barred for use in regular cigarettes because of the worry that the flavors are used to appeal to children.
It s growing pains for the industry that reached nearly $2 billion in sales last year in the face of looming regulation. E cigarette users say the devices address both the addictive and behavioral aspects of smoking without the thousands of chemicals found in regular cigarettes.
There are about 1,500 e liquid makers in the U.S. and countless others abroad selling vials of nicotine from traditional tobacco to cherry cola on the Internet and in retail stores, often featuring photos of the popular treats. Using the brand name like Thin Mint or Fireball conjures up a very specific flavor in buyers minds, in a way that just mint chocolate or cinnamon doesn t.
Using the Thin Mint name which is synonymous with Girl Scouts and everything we do to enrich the lives of girls to market e cigarettes to youth is deceitful and shameless, Girl Scouts spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said in a statement.