A woman holds a cigarette
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Ellison: Government cigarette packaging review 'complex'

The government plans to announce an independent review of cigarette packaging in England in the hope of preventing young people from taking up smoking.

The public health minister, Jane Ellison, told the Today programme it "is one of the most important public health issues we face," but added that it was "complex and controversial".

"We know that two-thirds of people start smoking when they're children," she continued.

Shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, told presenter Mishal Husain "if the government was serious (about change) it would be taking action now to cut the harm from tobacco to children.

"The Department of Health has already conducted a lengthy review of the evidence and it was found to work to reduce smoking rates, to make tobacco less attractive to children and to make the health warnings more effective," he added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 28 November 2013.