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Britain set to review cigarette packaging: media

A worker smokes a cigar in the City of London February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A worker smokes a cigar in the City of London February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - The UK government is set to announce a review of cigarette packaging in an effort to deter youngsters from smoking, British media reports said on Wednesday citing sources.

The David Cameron government in July delayed plans to ban company branding on cigarette packets, a move that was strongly criticized by health campaigners.

The government distanced itself earlier, saying it wanted to first see the impact of a similar decision in Australia.

The Times on Wednesday reported that the British government will announce a review, the findings of which are expected to strongly back the case for plain packaging, and plain cigarette packets are expected to be on shop shelves before the 2015 election.

"We need immediate legislation for standard cigarette packaging, not another review. The Government needs to stand up to the tobacco industry's vested interests," Labor Party's Shadow Public Health Minister Luciana Berger said on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in July that plain packaging would increase the impact of health warnings, stop consumers from thinking some products were less harmful, and make tobacco products less attractive for adults and children.

Six million people die every year from smoking and the toll is projected to rise to eight million by 2030, according to the WHO.

(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore. Editing by Andre Grenon)