Response to rumour of UK plain packaging implementation
6 March 2013
It is important to remember that these are just rumours at the moment but we would be surprised and disappointed if the UK Government implemented plain packaging when there is still no credible evidence to suggest it will support any stated public health objectives.
Since introducing plain packaging in December last year, the Australian Government is now facing multiple challenges at the World Trade Organisation on the basis that this measure breaches the country’s obligations regarding intellectual property and international trade. It would seem more sensible for the UK Government to await the outcome of these challenges before making any final decision regarding plain packaging as the New Zealand Government has done.
Ill-thought through regulation, like plain packaging, brings with it the very real threat of serious unintended consequences, such as a rise in the number of smokers willing to turn to the black market which, in turn, can have a negative impact on UK jobs and the economy.
26% of tobacco products in the UK are already bought from the black market which means taxpayers and the Government lose out on valuable tax revenue at a time when every penny counts. Plain packs play right into the hands of the counterfeiters who are ready and waiting to supply people, regardless of their age, with cheap tobacco products.