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Harlow MP Robert Halfon defends reasons for voting against plain packaging for cigarettes

Politics / Sat 14th Mar 2015 at 01:50pm

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon has gone on the record to defend his reasons for voting against plain packaging for cigarettes.

Writing on his blog, Mr Halfon said:

“I voted against because I believe in freedom to choose. Fifteen people die every day tragically from alcohol related problems. Should we cover up bottles of wine or cans of beer? Should we have plain packaging of chocolate bars because of the obesity epidemic and heart disease? In my view, no.

The evidence from Australia shows that smoking has not decreased because of plain packaging and smuggling is on the increase.

I have had letters from numerous newsagents in Harlow worried about the impact on their trade and jobs, because of the likely rise in smuggling and illicit tobacco.

It is worth noting that illicit cigarettes under plain packing are an even greater health risk because no-one knows‎ what is in them and they are often mixed with dangerous substances.

I also believe that making cigarettes more ‘illicit’ will encourage rather than deter smoking. There will also be a new buyers market in branded/’colourful’ cigarette cases which will probably defeat the whole purpose anyway.

The best way to cut smoking is through tax and education.

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