In breaking news from the UK, a review into introducing mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products has been launched by the government.

The consultation, which will launch today, is being undertaken to work out whether plain packaging could reduce the appeal of tobacco, and follows the example set by the Australian government when legislation enforcing plain packaging was passed in November last year.

Health secretary for the UK Government, Andrew Lansley, has said the Government wants tobacco companies to have “no business” in Britain, according to UK Marketing Magazine (no connection to this publication).

The consultation document will reportedly claim branded cigarette packets create ‘smoker identity’, and cites a AU$92 million increase in sales of Lambert & Butler after it introduced the promotional ‘Celebration Pack’, and research that claims smoking causes 100,000 deaths a year in the UK.

The review will be undertaken without the consultation of tobacco companies, departing from the approach taken to tackle obesity health issues.

According to Marketing UK, Lansley said: “We don’t work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country.”

Barring a successful high court challenge from tobacco companies in Australia, plain packaging will come into play in December this year. Marketing‘s investigation into the branding implications of the change for tobacco companies shows that while packaging plays an important role in tobacco sales in Australia, its removal may not be enough to stamp out smoking.