LONDON, June 26 Britain on Thursday published
draft regulations that would force tobacco firms to sell
cigarettes in unbranded packaging with graphic health warnings
as it prepared to legislate on the issue to try to improve
Despite stiff opposition from the tobacco industry, the
government said in April it wanted to bring in such laws after a
review found such packaging rules would reduce the rate of
children taking up smoking.
The regulations, published as part of the government's final
six-week consultation on the matter, set out guidelines such as
packet and text colours modelled on those used in Australia, the
first country in the world to enact such laws in 2012.
They also set out proposed punishments for manufacturers who
breached the guidelines such as unlimited fines and jail terms.
Britain's opposition Labour party and health campaigners
have accused the coalition government of being too slow to bring
forward legislation. The government has said it has enough time
to legislate before a national election next May but has said it
has yet to take a final decision on whether to go ahead.
If it does, the move could make Britain the second country
in the world and the first in Europe to introduce mandatory
plain cigarette packets. Ireland is planning a similar ban.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)