Half a million oppose plain packaging

Half a million oppose plain packaging

Today when the debate on plain packaging continues around the world, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) has revealed that public concern about the unintended consequences of plain packaging has generated in the region of half a million* responses opposing its introduction in the UK. This unprecedented response represents views from thousands of members of the public as well as retailers, packaging companies, marketing and design firms, manufacturers, wholesalers, politicians, employers, employees, business groups, trade unions, the Intellectual Property community, international business, trade associations and the law enforcement community.

Jaine Chisholm Caunt, Secretary General of the TMA, commented:

“Plain packaging is an assault on UK business in the midst of a double dip recession. Plain packs would be far easier to copy, and would therefore be a gift to the criminal gangs behind the illegal trade in tobacco and increase the £3.1bn – £8.5m per day – that is currently lost to the UK Treasury as a result of this crime.

“At best, plain packaging will have no impact on youth smoking, as there is no credible evidence that packaging is a factor in underage smoking. At worst, it could actually increase youth smoking, by driving the availability of smuggled tobacco being sold by criminals in local communities. These illegal traders do not care who they sell to, and frequently target children. The percentage of children who smoke in the UK is at an historic low – 5%. We feel the government should reduce this figure still further by tackling children’s access to tobacco, through greater investment in enforcement action and tougher penalties targeted at illegal tobacco gangs, and by making proxy purchasing of tobacco illegal, as it is for alcohol.”

Editors Notes:

1. The TMA is the Trade Association for tobacco manufacturers in the UK. Its three members are British American Tobacco (BAT), Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International (JTI)

2. The UK tobacco industry employs over 5,700 people in the UK and generates £12.1bn per year in excise and VAT. Collectively with its UK supply chain, it supports a further 66,000 UK jobs, and generates £2.1bn GVA.

3. This figure* is based on estimated responses into the consultation including signatures, postcards, letters, emails, online responses, consultation response forms etc., many of which have been sent directly to the Department of Health (DH). We await final confirmation of the number of responses from the DH.

4. The Australian court case judgement ruling is the first of several legal challenges on plain packaging. It relates solely to Australian legislation and not the UK. For further information contact the press offices of BAT, Imperial and JTI

5. The TMA and its member companies are committed to addressing youth access prevention by supporting retailers through the ‘No ID, No Sale’ and CitizenCard campaigns, and working in partnership with enforcement agencies, including HMRC to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco.

6. For further press enquiries about the TMA response or to contact other organisations opposed to plain packaging, please contact Ben McArdle, Campaigns Manager, TMA on 020 7544 0116 or 07712 530 436

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