• June 22, 2024

Packaging fight continues

 Packaging fight continues

The drive to impose standardized packaging on tobacco products in the hope of discouraging current and potential smokers, has pitted the World Health Organization and the EU against the tobacco industry, according to a story by Claire Stam and Sarantis Michalopoulos for euractiv.com.
The industry says standardized packaging has no discernible impact on smoking rates but opens the door to black markets. On the other hand, the WHO insists that the measure is effective and rules out any link to the illegal trade.
From its side, the EU is expecting the number of smokers to fall by 2.4 million during the five-year period following the introduction of the its revised Tobacco Product Directive (TPD). The TPD, which came into force in May 2016, requires that 65 percent of a tobacco pack’s surface should include health warning graphics and text, though it leaves open to member states whether they introduce standardized packaging.
New research conducted by the consultancy group Europe Economics and commissioned by Japan Tobacco International, showed that the introduction of standardized packaging has had no statistically-significant impact on smoking prevalence or consumption in the UK, where standardized packaging was imposed.
The research, which was based on government data found that three out of five UK adults believed standardized packaging would lead to an increase in the number of illicit cigarettes, benefiting organised crime.
“What this evidence and public opinion research shows is that plain packaging should never have been introduced in the UK,” Ben Townsend, head of EU Affairs for JTI, told EURACTIV.com. “Other European countries considering the measure should think twice before importing a failed experiment, which appears to have back-fired big time.
“One year ago, the UK government introduced plain packaging for tobacco products in the absence of clear supportive evidence from Australia [at the time, the only country to have introduced the policy]. Five-and-a-half years into the Australian experiment, we see that plain packaging has completely failed to reduce smoking rates.”