Le Parisien reports on more evidence of the failure of plain packaging for tobacco in France. Launched in January 2017, the policy was touted by activists as a measure which would bring down smoking rates. However, even the most ardent supporters of plain packaging admit that sales of tobacco products have been stable. In turn they now call for a price point of €10 for a packet of cigarettes to bring smoking levels down.
Health policy must be based on evidence, not ideology or wishful thinking. Evidence from around the world shows that plain packaging does not reduce smoking levels, and that it helps to promote illegal trade. By heeding this body of evidence, policymakers can avoid making the same mistakes again and again when it comes to tobacco policy.
Peter van der Mark, ESTA Secretary General, said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. French policymakers ignored the international evidence on plain packaging, and France is now experiencing firsthand the failure of these policies. This misguided policy on plain packaging is complemented by a tax policy for tobacco which actively fuels and encourages illegal trade. It is time for the political class in France to wake up to the reality that smoking is a personal choice, and that high-handed paternalistic policies without a scientific basis do far more harm than good.”