Our response to the UK plain packaging consultation
8 August 2014
Put simply, there is no credible evidence that plain packaging will reduce smoking. Even Sir Cyril Chantler’s own review for the Department of Health admitted the evidence that plain packaging could improve public health was "modest and had its limitations”.
Australia is the only country to have introduced plain packaging and the experiment there is failing. In the first year alone:
- Legal sales of tobacco increased by the equivalent of 59million cigarettes - after years of decline
- The black market for tobacco grew by 20% - profiting criminals while depriving the Australian taxpayer of AUS$1billion
- The steady reduction of smoking rates that Australia had seen in recent years actually halved.
In our comprehensive submission to the consultation, we have included never-before-seen data from Australia which clearly shows plain packaging has not achieved the Australian Government’s public health objectives. This is important data that Sir Cyril Chantler was offered access to but didn’t include in his review.
In addition, our submission also contains a full critique of the Government's Impact Assessment and the Chantler Report by Stephen Gibson, an independent expert in regulation and competition economics.
As well as proving to be ineffective, plain packaging infringes on our legal rights as a business and fails to respect our minimum guaranteed rights regarding trade mark protection.
When the UK Government consulted on the idea of plain packaging in 2012, 64% of respondents rejected the idea. We understand that once again thousands of individuals and groups also oppose plain packaging and have made their views known.
Given the number of detailed responses that have been submitted, we are confident the UK Government will take the same meticulous approach to reviewing them as it did during its 2012 consultation. We hope that any policy announcement will be based on plain facts and evidence.