Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Thursday, May 17 2018 - 17:00
AsiaNet
Plain Packaging on Tobacco Backfires Within First Year in the UK
GENEVA, May 17, 2018 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

     After Government U-Turned on its Commitment to Wait for Evidence from 
Australia, New Research Shows UK Public Consider Plain Packaging Ineffective 
and a Poor Use of Resources - Concerns it will Lead to a n Increase in Illegal 
Cigarettes

    One year on from the controversial introduction of plain packaging for 
tobacco in the UK, new research commissioned by JTI and conducted by 
independent polling company Kantar TNS, reveals that the majority of the UK 
public are not supportive of the policy.

(Logo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/692561/JT_International_SA_Logo.jpg ) 

    In the largest public opinion poll of its kind since plain packaging was 
introduced, research found that UK citizens are concerned their government has 
imported a failed policy from Australia[1] without fully evaluating the 
potential negative consequences[2] :

    - Almost two-thirds of the UK population believe that plain packaging will 
not achieve its primary objective of reducing smoking rates (65%) and is a poor 
use of government resources (65%). 
    - Three out of every five UK adults (58%) believe plain packaging will lead 
to an increase in the number of illegal cigarettes sold in the UK. 
    - If the UK Government had yet to decide on plain packaging and was 
considering whether to introduce it today, 69% of UK adults believe they should 
either reject the policy (35%) or wait for more evidence of its effectiveness 
from Australia (34%). 
    - 72% of respondents believe the government would either a) fix a policy 
review / ignore evidence that went against a preferred policy (29%), or b) be 
reluctant to change their preferred policy if the evidence was weighted against 
it (43%).

    Respondents are also critical of how the Bill became law:

    - 68% think the Government changed the decision-making requirements it 
had       previously set out in order to push it through. 
    - 72% think it was important for the government to research the links 
between illegal tobacco and terrorist organizations.

    One year in, the latest data shows no impact on tobacco sales or smoking 
rates in the UK[3] and counterfeit plain packs were discovered on the high 
street as early as one month after the implementation of plain packaging.[4] An 
analysis conducted by JTI on UK counterfeit samples shows that tar, nicotine 
and carbon monoxide levels far exceed those allowed in the country. But this is 
only the tip of the iceberg: in some cases, counterfeits have been found to 
contain heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead[5], along with other 
toxic contaminants: asbestos, mold, dust, dead flies, rat droppings - and even 
human excrement.[6]

    "Plain packaging is failing in the UK, as it has in Australia and 
France[7], and as we always warned that it would," states Jonathan Duce, Head 
of External Communications at JTI's global headquarters in Geneva. "Rather than 
wait for results to emerge from Australia - as originally committed to by 
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - the government pushed through a policy without 
waiting for hard evidence or research into the consequences. Plain packaging 
should never have been introduced in the UK, and other governments considering 
the measure should think twice before importing this failed experiment."

    References

    1) In Australia, which pioneered plain packaging in December 2012, latest 
Government data shows that the long-term decline in smoking rates has now       
stalled: 
https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/ndshs-2016-key-findings/contents/highlights-from-the-2016-survey 

    2) After Australia implemented plain packaging, illegal tobacco sales went 
up by 30%. The overall illegal market is now at 15% - the country's highest 
level on record: See "Illicit Tobacco in Australia: 2017 Full Year Report", 
KPMG, April 2018: 
https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/uk/pdf/2018/05/australia_illicit_tobacco_report_2017.pdf. 

    3) The scale of illegal tobacco in Australia - and related criminal 
activity - has forced the government to set up a multi-agency 'Tobacco 
TaskForce': 
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/government-butt-squad-to-chase-billions-in-criminal-tobacco-fraud-20180505-p4zdiv.html 

    4) "TPD2 and standardized tobacco packaging - What impacts have they had so 
far?", Europe Economics, May 2018: 
http://www.europe-economics.com/publications/15/publications.htm - Data on 
smoking rates for England, considered as representative for the UK. 
    5) "EXCLUSIVE: First Fake Plain Packs Discovered, Rogue Retailers Making 
'Small Fortune' ",  BetterRetailing.com, November 10, 2017: 
https://www.betterretailing.com/first-fake-plain-packs-discovered. 
    6) 
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sniffer-dogs-with-gopro-bodycams-help-find-30000-fake-cigarettes-in-soho-a3547241.html 

    7) 
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/illegal-tobacco-tainted-by-asbestos-and-rats-s2fpnsx26 

    8) In France, the second country to implement plain packaging four months 
before the UK, Minister of Health Agnes Buzyn admitted that plain packaging 
doesn't stop people from smoking and that she was against it from the       
outset: 
http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/15/cri/2017-2018/20180075.asp#P1117763        
[http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/15/cri/2017-2018/20180075.asp]

    Data published by the French Observatory for Drugs and Addiction shows that 
one full year after the implementation of the policy, tobacco products shipped 
to retailers (cigarettes and RYO/MYO) were broadly stable in France, with only 
a slight evolution of -0.7% in volume, following a 1.3% increase in sales 
during the first half of the year: https://www.ofdt.fr/ofdt/fr/tt171225.pdf

    Note to editors

    Methodology:

    2,464 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain 
between 12th to 19th April 2018. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar TNS 
Research Express, which uses the Lightspeed access panel as its sample source.

    About Research Express

    Research Express provides quick, reliable market research. Our scale and 
advanced operational capabilities saves our clients both time and money. 
Research Express is part of Kantar TNS.

    About Kantar TNS

    Kantar TNS is one of the world's largest research agencies with experts in 
over 90 countries. With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, 
shopper activation and customer experience, we help our clients identify, 
optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their 
business. We are part of Kantar, one of the world's leading data, insight and 
consultancy companies. Find out more at http://www.tnsglobal.com.

    About JTI

    JTI is a leading international tobacco company with operations in more than 
130 countries. It is the global owner of both Winston, the number two cigarette 
brand in the world, and Camel outside the USA and has the largest share in 
sales for both brands. Other global brands include Mevius and LD. With its 
internationally recognized brand Logic, JTI is also a major player in the 
e-cigarette market and has, since 2011, been present in the heated tobacco 
category with Ploom. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the company employs 
close to 40,000 people and was awarded Global Top Employer for four consecutive 
years. JTI is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies. For more 
information, visit http://www.jti.com.

    Full report available here 
[https://www.jti.com/about-us/our-business/key-regulatory-submissions ].


SOURCE: JT International SA