Another blow for smokers in the UK

Uniform packaging rules for tobacco were introduced this week (May 20) after a legal challenge against the new law was dismissed by the High Court.

Under the new regulations, all tobacco packaging must be uniformly olive green and with large images intended to act as health warnings, the BBC reported.

UK packsPicture health warnings must cover 65% of the front and back of every packet of cigarettes, with additional warnings on the top and new rules are introduced on the amount and strength of liquid allowed in e-cigarettes and herbal products.

Cigarette companies have a year to comply with the new rules.

Separately, the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive was also introduced on the same date, setting out other rules such as banning packs of 10 cigarettes. Earlier this month, the European Court of Justice ruled that the directive, which had been held up by legal challenges ever since it was adopted in 2014, was lawful.

The UK case was brought by four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

But Mr Justice Green dismissed all their grounds of challenge.

Speaking after Thursday’s High Court ruling on the new UK laws, Jane Ellison MP, public health minister said: “First and foremost, this is a victory for a generation that will grow up smoke-free. Standardised packaging will reduce smoking rates and save lives, which will always be a top priority for this government. We will never allow the tobacco industry to dictate our policies.”

And Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said the ‘landmark judgment’ was a ‘crushing defeat’ for the tobacco industry.

She told the BBC: “Millions of pounds have been spent on some of the country’s most expensive lawyers in the hope of blocking the policy. This disgraceful effort to privilege tobacco business interests over public health has rightly failed utterly.”

Two of the companies have said they will appeal against the ruling. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had contested the case, saying the regulations for standardised packaging were lawful.

Mr Justice Green, who heard the case in December, gave a 386-page, 1,000-paragraph written ruling.

In it he said: “The essence of the case is about whether it is lawful for states to prevent the tobacco industry from continuing to make profits by using their trade marks and other rights to further what the World Health Organisation describes as a health crisis of epidemic proportions and which imposes an immense clean-up cost on the public purse. In my judgment the regulations are valid and lawful in all respects.”

This puts pressure on smokers to quit the habit and one sure way of doing this is through hypnotherapy. According to the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH), hypnotherapy is three times more successful than using nicotine patches.

Whether it is cigarettes or e-cigarettes, a trained therapist can help a person who wants to quit the habit do so – sometimes in just one session.

By working directly with the subconscious mind, after putting the smoker into a trance-like state, the therapist can help break the habit which has been formed by smoking and also, if necessary, use aversion therapy to stop the addiction.

Smoking causes more preventable deaths than anything else – nearly 80,000 in England during 2011, says the UK government. There’s also an impact on smokers’ families as, each year, UK hospitals see around 9,500 admissions of children with illnesses caused by second-hand smoke.