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.
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.
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.
72% of those questioned in Populus poll today say that
#plainpacks will cause people to turn to the black market http://ow.ly/cqEgr