British American Tobacco has come out against a suggestion that legislation on standardized tobacco packaging will form part of the Queen’s speech in May.
“It is important to remember that these are just rumours at the moment but we would be surprised and disappointed if the UK government implemented plain packaging when there is still no credible evidence to suggest it will support any stated public health objectives,’ the company said in a note posted on its website.
‘Since introducing plain packaging in December last year, the Australian government is now facing multiple challenges at the World Trade Organization on the basis that this measure breaches the country’s obligations regarding intellectual property and international trade. It would seem more sensible for the UK government to await the outcome of these challenges before making any final decision regarding plain packaging as the New Zealand government has done.
‘Ill thought through regulation, like plain packaging, brings with it the very real threat of serious unintended consequences, such as a rise in the number of smokers willing to turn to the black market which, in turn, can have a negative impact on UK jobs and the economy.
‘Twenty-six per cent of tobacco products in the UK are already bought from the black market which means taxpayers and the government lose out on valuable tax revenue at a time when every penny counts. Plain packs play right into the hands of the counterfeiters who are ready and waiting to supply people, regardless of their age, with cheap tobacco products.’
Writing for City A.M. today, James Titcomb said that shares in BAT and Imperial Tobacco had fallen in price on fears that standardized packaging would be introduced.
Category: Breaking News