MPs have voted to make plain packaging for tobacco products mandatory.
The vote, held on 11 March 2015, passed with a majority of 254, with 367 for and 113 against. Peers will confirm the result in the House of Lords in a vote next week.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said: 'This is an extremely positive step forward which could lead to an important reduction in smoking in the UK. Nurses are on the frontline of smoking cessation support and witness the devastating effects of smoking first-hand. Smoking results in unnecessary deaths every year in the UK, causing untold pain and suffering for patients and their families, whilst inflicting a significant financial burden on the NHS.'
Under the new rules, all cigarette and rolling tobacco packaging will be packaged in a standard shape without branding, design or a logo. They will also include picture health warnings and brand names will in a standardised type face, colour and size.
Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: 'This great result is one we've been looking forward to for many years. During the last three years we've seen the evidence grow about the impact of tobacco packaging. Strong support for removing the slick marketing of today's packs has increased among the public and across the political spectrum. There are around 100,000 people who die from tobacco in the UK every year. Standard packs will help reduce the number of lives blighted by this lethal product and help us move towards a tobacco free generation.'