Britain says minded to introduce mandatory plain cigarette packaging

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday it was minded to force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain standardized packaging and would hold a short consultation on the issue before taking a final decision.

Jane Ellison, a minister in Britain's Department of Health, cited what she called a "compelling" review commissioned by the government which she said had shown plain packaging would improve public health and cut the number of child smokers.

"In light of this report and the responses to the previous consultation in 2012 I am therefore currently minded to proceed with introducing regulations to provide for standardized packaging," Ellison told parliament.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)