Monday, 5 September 2011

Consultation on plain packaging comes to UK

The Indy is on a roll, now announcing that the Coalition will hold a consultation on plain packaging. In the same breath, the paper reports ministers saying that plain packaging 'could be implemented if it was seen to work in Australia'. Quite why anyone should care what tobacco is wrapped in (especially if the tobacco display ban comes into place) is really beyond me. There is a market for illegal drugs after all.

The tobacco industry's opposition to this measure is taken as proof positive that its introduction would kill the youth market – regardless of the known fact that most people start smoking before they are legally able to purchase tobacco. Tobacco Control puts its case here.

 The Tobacco Control Supersite (Australian) has coverage. Included is this paragraph:
With global acceleration in tobacco advertising and sponsorship bans, the pack assumes unprecedented importance as a promotional vehicle for reaching potential and current smokers.British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have predicted that pack design alone will drive brand imagery. Packs can communicate the “personality” of a brand to smokers, and smokers can project these characteristics by  handling and displaying the package throughout their daily routines. Just as designer clothing, accessories and cars serve as social cues to style, status and character so too can cigarette packs signify a range of user attributes.
It doesn't follow that stripping the packs of branding will put people off. One might as well argue that new smokers will feel more able to experiment with brands that don't shout about user attributes.

Back to the UK. In an interesting postscript to the Indy piece we are told this:

In the past the tobacco industry has been suspected of funding campaigns fronted by small retailers to prevent further restrictions on sales. [Link added]
"That was certainly what I was told when I was Health Secretary," said the former Labour minster Andy Burnham. "But I have to say I never saw any proof."
Now he tells us.


Pat Nurse MA said...

Because it's about hate not health. The anti-smoker industry's main objective for the last 50 years has been to put the tobacco industry out of business.

Plain packaging will do nothing to stop youth smoking and they know it.

Bill Gibson said...

We already hold evidence from other countries who consider such a move to be illegal and that these countries have already informed the EU of their concerns

George Speller said...

'could be implemented if it was seen to work in Australia'
Of course it will be "seen to work" the "studies" will have been written already.