Monday, 23 July 2012

The police, the unions, business and the public think it daft. Can we ditch the idea of plain packs for fags now?

It seems that everyone bar the paid lackeys of The Churchof Public Health is against the idea of plain packaging for cigarettes.

The police:

Health Secretary Andrew ­Lansley’s plans to force ­cigarettes to be sold in plain packets have been blasted by police.

Nearly nine out of 10 officers – 86 per cent – believe the move will lead to a rise in smuggling and sales of fake ­cigarettes, a poll claimed yesterday.

The findings also show that six out of 10 believe that the clampdown would drive teenagers towards illegal ­cigarette suppliers where they could buy counterfeit branded packs.

And senior officers make clear the problem – 24 of them wrote to the Times about it:

Sir, Plain packaging risks fuelling tobacco smuggling. We are concerned at the possibility of the Government introducing standardised packaging of tobacco products. We do not wish to get involved in the public health debate. However, our concern is very much on the impact that it could have on crime and in particular on serious organised criminals who are the target of the major law enforcement agencies.

Tobacco products are relatively small, high-value items and are smuggled in extremely large quantities, depriving the Treasury of billions of pounds in tax revenues. Those who smuggle tobacco products are often involved in other forms of serious criminality. The introduction of standardised packaging would make it even easier for criminals to copy and sell these products to the unsuspecting public, including children. This would place further pressure on already stretched law enforcement agencies and at a time when the Government needs to secure much needed tax revenues.

To my thinking that ought to be enough but we can add trade union opposition – they’re worried about jobs (like I am since 1000 of those jobs are in Bradford):

The FDT National Committee has serious concerns that these measures are ill-thought through and not evidence based, and in some parts of our sector, particularly tobacco and alcohol, could simply make it much easier for criminals to sell (unregulated and untaxed) counterfeit and smuggled goods and thus have flow-on affects such as a significant impact on jobs in our sector.

A considerable amount of the business of both Weidenhammer and Chesapeake involves the printing of cigarette cartons for the export trade. At Wiedenhammer’s Bradford site a large proportion of the work involves the production of drums for loose tobacco and, if this business disappeared, then it is estimated that turnover would decrease by at least a third. The threat to the business is, therefore, very real and...there would be major implications for investment, jobs and the tobacco packaging supply chain across the UK. 

So the police think it will increase crime and make it easier for children to get hold of tobacco; the unions and industry think it will result in job losses and the public? Well they think it’s a daft idea too:

72% of those questioned in Populus poll today say that #plainpacks will cause people to turn to the black market

So there you have it folks – the police, the unions, business and the public all think plain packaging for cigarettes is a daft and counterproductive idea. Can we dump the idea now?



Anonymous said...

I doubt it, the ratchet only goes up not back...

Anonymous said...

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

16. Plain packaging.

The effect of advertising or promotion on packaging can be eliminated by requiring plain packaging: black and white or two contrasting colours, as prescribed by national authorities: nothing other than a brand name and/or manufacturer's name, contact details and the quantity of the product in the packaging, without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government mandated information or markings: prescribed font style and size: and standardized shape, size and materials"

Leg-iron said...

No chance. It has nothing to do with smoking, it is about proving that the State can take control of branding.

It will happen and it will spread into other brands within months.

Smokers are already adapting as we have adapted to all the previous attacks. As for the drones who think it's a good idea, don't come to us for advice when it's your turn.