Plain Packaging: Business Impact Must be Properly Assessed in UK

In response to a study on plain packaging in Australia, ACS has reiterated its call to the Department of Health to look closely at the operational impact that tobacco plain packaging would have on retailers and other businesses in the UK.

The study, published by BMJ Open, found “no evidence of the major unintended consequences concerning loss of smoker patrons from small retail outlets, flooding of the market by cheap Asian brands and use of illicit tobacco” as a result of the introduction of plain packaging, but concedes that “the recent purchase of potentially illicit tobacco was only assessed in one survey year, and therefore (it could not be determined) whether it had increased between 2011 and 2013.”

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: "There are many problems for retailers arising from standardised packaging that are not investigated in this study. This research of consumers cannot cover the additional service times, and the ordering and stock-taking errors that Australian retailers have encountered, and that we believe would impact on retailers in the UK if this measure was introduced here.

"The study does not track usage of the illicit market in Australia over time. The UK Government should look at all the evidence on the effect of standardised packaging on the illicit trade, and consider the impact of cheap black market tobacco on public health, on legitimate retailers and on the public purse."

At the start of August, the Regulatory Policy Committee also expressed a number of concerns about the proposals for plain packaging in the UK, asking the Department of Health to look again at the implications of plain packaging on business.

This entry was posted by Chris on Fri, 29/08/2014 - 09:00