UK - Richard Branson makes high-profile plea for tobacco control measures to protect children..

September 17, 2009 - Sir Richard Branson has waded into the debate on plain cigarette packaging and urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to back a bill on new tobacco control measures.

Branson wants more to be done to stop children being sucked into a "lethal addiction", according to a story in today's Daily Mirror, and is backing a campaign to protect children from tobacco marketing.

"Getting rid of cigarette vending machines will help save lives. And plain packaging will help take the glitz and glamour out of tobacco," the founder of the Virgin group of companies is quoted as writing in a letter to newspaper editors.

Branson is supporting a campaign by Cancer Research UK to help protect children from tobacco marketing.

Last week, tobacco manufacturers hit back at research that said bright packaging was misleading some smokers. "Plain packaging would prevent tobacco manufacturers from providing consumers with information about products that are legally available in retail outlets," said Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association.

Amanda Sandford, research manager at charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said packaging was now the main form of tobacco promotion and said plain packaging would be a first step to stop misleading information.

Analysis: Stark images reignite cigarette pack debate..

We must not forget that Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO, Philip Morris International (PMI), tells us PMI strongly opposes generic packaging. (PMI presentation at JP Morgan Global Tobacco Conference, London, 6/27/2008)

Reference: Richard Branson makes high-profile plea on cigarette packs, Simeon Goldstein,, 9/14/2009.

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