Plain packaging on tobacco backfires, finds JTI

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The majority of the UK public are not supportive of plain packaging for tobacco, according to new research commissioned by JTI.

The poll, carried out to mark the first year since the introduction of plain packaging, found that UK citizens are concerned their government has imported a failed policy from Australia without fully evaluating the potential negative consequences.

Almost two-thirds of the UK population believe that plain packaging will not achieve its primary objective of reducing smoking rates (65%) and is a poor use of government resources (65%).

Three out of every five UK adults (58%) believe plain packaging will lead to an increase in the number of illegal cigarettes sold in the UK, the poll revealed.

Respondents were also critical of how the bill became law: 68% think the government changed the decision-making requirements it had previously set out in order to push it through.

Jonathan Duce, head of external communications at JTI’s global headquarters in Geneva, said: “Plain packaging is failing in the UK, as it has in Australia and France, and as we always warned that it would.

“Rather than wait for results to emerge from Australia – as originally committed to by health secretary Jeremy Hunt – the government pushed through a policy without waiting for hard evidence or research into the consequences. Plain packaging should never have been introduced in the UK, and other governments considering the measure should think twice before importing this failed experiment.”

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