Health risk pictures will 'vilify' smokers, says tobacco group

Imperial Tobacco has blasted government proposals to introduce picture health warnings on tobacco products , saying they will "shock, vilify and stigmatise" adult smokers.

The company slammed government plans to put graphic images of the damage caused by smoking on all cigarette packs from September, saying they would do nothing to add to public awareness of the associated health risks.

Iain Watkins, trade communications manager, said: "The written warnings already on cigarettes are sufficient to inform the public of the health risks of smoking, so why we need horrid images to shock people I just don't know."

The Department of Health hopes to put picture health warnings on all tobacco products by autumn 2008 to bring the UK in line with EU law.

Its decision follows a public consultation to find out which photographs are likely to have the greatest impact on smokers. The 42 images ranged from smokers undergoing heart surgery to ultrasound pictures of an unborn baby to warn of the dangers of smoking when pregnant.

Watkins added: "We will be working with our customers to ensure that they will be fully compliant and only carry pictorial health warning stock as and when required by law."

The European Commission has banned the sale of non-child-resistant lighters from March 11.

Retailers will have until that date to sell any non-compliant stock. Visit for further details.

Snacks & packs in brief

Galaxy is investing £1.4 million into TV, press and online ads to support its sponsorship of the British Book Awards 2007.

Andrea Taylor, Masterfoods trade relations manager, said: "The heavyweight marketing campaign and significant media support for the awards underpin Galaxy's commitment to getting chocolate lovers to unwind with a good book and Galaxy."

Gallaher has launched Camel Natural Flavour Filter and Camel Natural Flavour Subtle cigarettes. Made from 100 per cent whole leaf tobacco they are said to have no added flavourings and a higher Virginia tobacco content than other cigarettes in the range.

Richmond has added to its Nestlé ice cream tubs range with the release of Fab ice cream and jelly sauce, and Milkybar ice-cream. Both will be available from the end of February.

Britvic is to launch Robinsons Smooth Juice and Robinsons Fruit Shoot 100% Juice. Both drinks come in Orange, Apple and Apple & Blackcurrant flavours, with each litre bottle providing one of the five recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables.