London: The government is set to announce the arrival of plain-packet cigarettes before the next general election in 2015, the Times reported on Thursday.
Prime Minister David Cameron rejected plans to ban branded cigarette cartons in July, raising accusations from the Labour Party that he had come under pressure from his election guru Lynton Crosby, who had worked with a firm that lobbied against standardised packaging.
"This will nail Labour's ridiculous smears," a government source told the paper.
"Now the pressure will be on Labour to get behind this amendment to enable the introduction of standardised packaging."
The government maintains it was waiting to analyse results from Australia, which introduced plain packaging a year ago.
Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger tonight urged the government to act immediately, regardless of the results of its review.
"We need immediate legislation for standard cigarette packaging, not another review. The government needs to stand up to the tobacco industry's vested interests," she said.
The Department of Health confirmed an announcement would be made on the subject later Thursday.