Friday, 20 May 2016

Plain packaging is ASH's problem now

So plain packaging in the UK crossed its final hurdle yesterday when the courts ruled it to be legal. From today, cigarette packs will be designed by people who hate smokers.

Plain packaging is ASH's problem now. They are the ones who spent years lobbying for it (with taxpayers' money, natch). They are the ones who made wild claims about it 'protecting' children. Now that it is reality they will be keen to lower expectations with the usual 'no silver bullet' film-flam (see also: the sugar tax). They will want to change the subject and move on to their next crazy idea.

Don't let them. We know from Australia that plain packaging won't make the slightest difference to tobacco sales or smoking prevalence. The only question is how bad the unintended consequences will be. Whatever happens next is ASH's fault and I, for one, will be reminding them of that every chance I get.

As I argue at the Speccie today, this policy - combined with the tax hikes, e-cigarette regulations and Tobacco Products Directive - is another step towards bootleg Britain...

This time next year, any cigarette pack you see that is not in plain packaging will have been bought abroad or on the black market. The same will be true of any menthol cigarette you see after 2020, not to mention all the vaping fluids and paraphernalia that are being outlawed by the EU. By necessity, Britain is becoming a nation of bootleggers. One unintended consequence of plain packaging will be that this becomes visible to all.

Do read the whole article.

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