Bold plans to place ‘smoking kills’ warnings on individual cigarettes are set to be unveiled in the UK this week.
Deadly warnings including “you don’t need me anymore” would be printed in red on individual cigarettes, reminding smokers of the dangers every time they light up.
A bill will be introduced to the UK parliament this week and could become law.
Jail time and huge fines could be imposed on manufacturers who don’t follow the rules.
“This is cost-free, popular and more effective than health warnings on packets,” Conservative politician George Young told The Mirror.
“The government could respond positively and I would be delighted if it did.”
Similar plans were first pitched to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, but were knocked back by the tobacco industry who claimed the ink on the cigarettes would cause cancer.
Deborah Arnott from the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Cigarettes kill smokers, not cigarette packs, so obviously they are where health warnings are most needed.
“All it needs is government support for us to become the first country to put ‘smoking kills’ on the cigarette itself.”
However, the plans have been slammed by a smokers’ campaign group as “laughable”.
“Smokers are well aware of the health risks,” Simon Clark from the group Forest said.
A cross-party parliamentary group on smoking and health called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get tougher on smoking.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health has drawn attention to comments from the UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty who recently warned cigarettes are more deadly than covid.
More than a decade ago, the UK introduced a smoking ban, making it illegal to smoke inside pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and work spaces anywhere in the country.
Last week, it emerged that seven councils in England had taken that ban one step further, with Oxfordshire vowing to be the first to ban smoking outside in all public places.
Northumberland county council, Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle, and the City of Manchester all followed suit, with Gateshead adding that pavements must be smoke free.
The APPG said the government needed to “take control of tobacco” and take its place on the world stage.
Charities have called for the red warnings to be introduced before.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), told The Sun Online last year, “Cigarettes are widely known as cancer sticks – why not put ‘smoking causes cancer’ on every cigarette to remind smokers every time they pull out a fag.
“The government admits it needs to do more if it is to achieve its ambition of a smoke-free England by 2030.
“Warnings on cigarettes is an obvious next step, it’s already under consideration not just in Australia but also in Canada and Scotland.
“Smokers themselves say it could help them quit, and it would also be the clearest warning possible to children not to start.”
Parts of this article originally appeared on The Sun and were reproduced with permission