Barry, who lost both his own father to cancer as a result of his smoking habit, has set out his position on plain packaging of cigarettes, further to the recent debate, below:
I agree that smoking remains one of the most important public health challenges we face and I am particularly concerned about the number of young people who are still taking up smoking. Indeed, eight out of ten smokers start by the age of 19.
I have long believed that standardised packaging should be introduced. Experts say it will make children less likely to take up smoking and therefore ultimately save lives. Standardised packaging is also supported by health campaigners, the Chief Medical Officer and the Government’s own reviews. I know from the large number of letters and e-mails I have received that there is also strong public support for this.
It is welcome, therefore, that the House of Commons has now voted overwhelmingly in favour of Regulations to introduce standardised packaging. I supported this vote in the House of Commons on 11th March and believe it is a real victory for children’s health.
The Government have been reluctant to introduce standardised packaging and I know that many constituents will share my frustration that it has taken so long in this Parliament to get to this point.
It is vital, therefore, that following this clear vote in Parliament the Government now press ahead with standardised packaging without further delay.