Plain packaging decision disregards the evidence

Plain packaging decision disregards the evidence

11 March 2015

Today the House of Commons voted in favour of introducing plain packaging of tobacco products.

Giles Roca, Director General of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said:

“Plain packaging is unnecessary, unjustified and unwanted by the majority who responded to the public consultations as well as those in law enforcement and the business community, including the CBI . There are over 50,000 people employed by packaging companies, design agencies and retailers whose businesses will be adversely affected to no purpose. The evidence emerging from Australia is clear, plain packaging is failing – youth smoking rates have increased alongside a rising illegal market.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Government has not taken into account the impact that this measure will have on jobs and the illegal market. The impact on the illegal market is compounded by the fact that the regulations make no allowance for the continued use of an on-pack security and authentication tool which has been voluntarily developed and implemented by industry and is now being used by HM Revenue & Customs. We said all along that plain packaging will be a gift to the criminal gangs who wish to flood the UK market with cheap, counterfeit tobacco and the Government is helping to make this a reality.”

– ENDS –

For further informationinterviews, please contact:

Paul Stockall
t: 020 7544 0113 m: 07545 440 700
e: pstockall@the-tma.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

1. The TMA is the trade association for tobacco companies that operate in the UK. Our members are British American Tobacco UK Ltd (www.bat.com), Gallaher Ltd (a member of the JTI Group of companies – www.jti.com), and Imperial Tobacco Ltd. (www.imperial-tobacco.com)

2. The 2012 UK-wide consultation into standardised packaging revealed that 64% of the 600,000+ responses were opposed to it. This unprecedented response represented 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.

3. The only market to have introduced plain packaging thus far, Australia, has seen illegal tobacco consumption grow to its highest level in 7 years. By mid-2014, illicit tobacco consumption stood at an unprecedented 14.7% of the market as a whole – 25% higher than it had been in 2012 (11.8%). Over the same period, there has been no decline in youth smoking rates and plain packaging has not led to an accelerated decline in tobacco sales.

4. HM Revenue & Customs Measuring Tax Gaps 2014 Report clearly shows the illegal market increased in 2013/14.

5. Further information can be found on the TMA’s website – www.the-tma.org.uk

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