News Releases

Opposition to plain packaging mounts

Thu 16th August, 2012

An estimated 500,000 people have registered their opposition to the introduction of plain packaging in the UK.

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association 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.”

* This figure of 500,000 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).

Source: Tobacco Manufacturers Association (15 August 2012)

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