Daily Management Review

UK To Impose Plain Packaging of Cigarette


03/12/2015


The legislation for standardizing the cigarette packaging is likely to get enforced before elections.



With, MP’s voting for the introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes, the laws are likely to get approved in mid-week of 2015. This decision have witnessed strong opposition from tobacco manufacturing companies. Australia was the first to introduce simple packaging with the objective to decrease smoking. After facing fierce resistance from tobacco industry, Australia implemented plain packaging 2 years ago. The law has enforced, that cigarettes should be sold in drab packs that displays health warnings along with larger images about the harmful impact of smoking. After introduction of this step by Australian government in 2012, there has been a decline in smoking.

British is planning to become the second country in the world before May 2015, to implement a strategy of standardized packaging for cigarettes. Nevertheless, France is considering about similar laws while Ireland has already taken a step ahead and finalized the standardized packaging law. According to a study, simple packaging can prevent non-smokers from adopting the habit and thereby reduces the number of cigarette smokers. Another study indicates that removal of brand images from the packs have enhanced consumer’s focus on health warnings particularly among adolescents who are in the verge to start smoking and occasional smokers. The most noteworthy effect of standardized packaging will be on young potential smokers.

If the UK government passes plain packaging law, all the graphics, trademarks and logos will be removed from the cigarette packs sold in Britain. According to 2014 review on UK public health, it was concluded that plain packaging will lead to an important reduction in the consumption of smoking thereby creating an overall positive impact on public health. This has given rise to a battle between the UK government and British American Tobacco (BAT). As a result, BAT has threatened to sue the government, if the law gets a nod. The tobacco company’s says that consumers identify with the brands and by the impact of the law, an essential part of identity will be lost. However, these laws are being challenged at World Trade Organisation.

If the plain packaging does not have any impact on the current smokers and is able to prevent even 5% of young generation (in the UK) from getting attracted towards smoking, it would be able to save around 2000 people every year. According to analysts, the new legislation is expected to take away consumers from cigarettes but it would create a larger impact on the stock prices of tobacco companies.

However, the tobacco companies that are fighting against the law, said that plain packaging will lead to infringement of intellectual property rights which in turn will stimulate black marketing and smuggling. Ann McNeill, a professor at King’s College London argued that if the tobacco company’s product had been invented today, then it would not have been able to even make its way to the consumer market. Eventhough their product are highly toxic to all consumers, the tobacco companies should think themselves to be fortunate enough that they are still not banned from selling such harmful products to consumers.
 
 







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