British American Tobacco Gave a Response to the UK Government’ Decision on Plain Packaging and a Ban on Cigarettes Displays

March 31st, 2011 11:55

Recently a British American Tobacco representative conducted a press conference where he spoke on the government decision to introduce plain packaging and ban tobacco displays. “We stand for their decision to assure that there is clear evidence to show that plain packaging would produce a public health benefit as well as the need to thoroughly investigate the competition and legal consequences of any policy decision. “It is very important to clarify that there is no robust evidence to state that plain packaging would have any effect on smoking rate mostly among young people. Actually all researches ever conducted underline that peer pressure is the main reason children start smoking.

“The unexpected effects of implementing plain packaging could make tobacco products more accessible to children namely at a time when youth smoking is record low at 6%.

“A present falsifiers have difficulties with matching colors and designs on packages in order to swindle their customers into supposing that they are buying the real products, and they often make it not so good, thus making identification of fakes easier. If our government insists to sell cigarettes in plain packages it would be like a huge gift for counterfeiters and criminal gangs who import illegally tobacco products into the UK. BAT is very concerned with the given policy; because being designed to make cigarettes less accessible to youngsters could it could have a completely opposite effect.

Plain packages would stop tobacco manufacturers from using expensive corporate assets and risk bringing government in breach with certain legal obligations concerning intellectual property rights, international trade and European law. It would also bring to risky regulatory precedent for brands owned and used by other industries. “We declared that we will undertake every action essential to protect our brands, our right to compete as a legal commercial business, which sells only legal tobacco products.

Ban on Cigarettes Displays

“As regarding display bans, BAT supposes that a ban on tobacco displays in shops is not well-founded because there is no any solid evidence stating that it will decrease smoking rates or prevent youngsters from smoking. “We think that such called “under the counter” culture will simply raise the illicit market by blurring the line between legal and illicit cigarettes making it more complicated to strengthen the message that smuggling is a crime.

“I observe that the government already accepts that the illicit trade makes tobacco products more accessible to young people. “Present official data demonstrate that 13% of cigarettes and 56% of hand-rolling tobacco product sales in UK are illegal. Foreign shopping comprises 21% and 67% respectively,” concluded BAT spokesman.

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