LONDON — The government plans to outlaw branded tobacco packaging as early as next year, after a report that showed it could lead to a modest reduction in children taking up smoking.

The move would bring Britain into line with Australia, where all cigarettes have been sold in uniform packages since Dec. 1, 2012. The governments of Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand are also proposing to ban branded packs.

Standardized packaging is likely to lead to “a modest but important reduction” in the uptake of smoking, said pediatrician Cyril Chantler, who announced the findings of his plain-packaging research Thursday. The British government will consult with the tobacco industry before making a final decision.