Talking Retail reports on a new study highlighting the impact of plain packaging regulation in the UK on the one year anniversary of its introduction. The study shows that 58% of retailers are aware of fake (counterfeit) plain packaged tobacco products being sold in their local area, while 72% believe that there is more illegal or very cheap tobacco sold in their local area than before plain packaging was introduced.
Plain packaging is a poor policy: there is no evidence to show that removing branding has any impact on smoking rates, and a growing body of evidence pointing to the failure of plain packaging laws, for example in Australia. Plain packaging drives illegal trade, making it easier for counterfeiters to produce illicit products as the evidence in the UK shows. The only motivation for it is ideological: to stigmatise smokers for the choices they make. Plain packaging is moralistic, not scientific.
ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark said: “It seems as if it does not matter how much evidence accumulates against plain packaging: those pushing it have no interest in scientific fact. Instead, they are simply concerned with pushing their own moralistic ideas about how people should live, thereby infantilising grown adults and undermining their freedom of choice. Time and again we have seen that plain packaging is a failed policy. It is past time for policymakers to stop giving in to the nanny state advocates.”