Cancer Research UK

How PLMR and Cancer Research UK helped to cause a Government U-turn that standardised plain packaging on cigarettes across the UK.


Cancer Research UK

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The Situation

Smoking tobacco is the leading preventable cause of cancer worldwide and Cancer Research UK has been campaigning for the introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes to make tobacco products less appealing to children and therefore reduce the number of people who take up smoking. The Government had blocked various attempts at passing this legislation.

What we did

In early 2014, PLMR supported a targeted approach of the House of Lords that was critical to the passing of the standardised packaging amendment in the Children and Families Bill in early 2015. This approach involved the PLMR team calling and entering regular conversations with over 500 members of the House of Lords, providing detailed briefings on the issue and on why the standardised packaging amendment was important to the future of public health in the UK, and to protecting children from taking up smoking. In the days and weeks leading up to the vote on the amendment, PLMR continued its engagement with the House of Lords, providing further briefings and encouraging Lords to attend the vote on the Standardised packaging of cigarettes.

The Result

The House of Lords voted overwhelmingly in favour of standardised packaging for cigarettes, forcing a Government U-Turn on the issue. A senior special advisor at Number 10 informed PLMR that the campaign had ‘outmanoeuvred’ the Government.

Standardised packaging came into force in May 2016.

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