The move makes the UK the first country in the EU to introduce such visual warnings on all tobacco products
Graphic images illustrating the effects that tobacco can have on health will be printed on all tobacco packets from next year Health Secretary Alan Johnson has announced.
The move makes the UK the first country in the EU to introduce such visual warnings on all tobacco products aimed at raising awareness.
Johnson said: "Picture warnings are the next vital step in reducing the number of people who smoke. We are committed to continuing to drive down smoking rates in the UK as smoking remains the number one cause of ill health and early death.
“Picture warnings are the next vital step in reducing the number of people who smoke.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson
The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said: "I am delighted that the UK is introducing picture warnings on tobacco packs. This will help promote better awareness of the damage that smoking does to lives and families, an essential step towards reducing the number of people who start smoking. It will also free significant NHS staff and facilities to treat other conditions that are harder to prevent".
The bank of images were developed by the European Commission in line with the 2001 Labelling Directive. This allowed member states to choose which images should be used and when they should be introduced.