JT International SA

Plain Packaging on Tobacco Backfires Within First Year in the UK

Geneva (ots/PRNewswire) - After Government U-Turned on its Commitment to Wait for Evidence from Australia, New Research Shows UK Public Consider Plain Packaging Ineffective and a Poor Use of Resources - Concerns it will Lead to an Increase in Illegal Cigarettes

One year on from the controversial introduction of plain packaging for tobacco in the UK, new research commissioned by JTI and conducted by independent polling company Kantar TNS, reveals that the majority of the UK public are not supportive of the policy.

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In the largest public opinion poll of its kind since plain packaging was introduced, research found that UK citizens are concerned their government has imported a failed policy from Australia[1] without fully evaluating the potential negative consequences[2] :

- 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.
- If the UK Government had yet to decide on plain packaging and was 
  considering whether to introduce it today, 69% of UK adults believe
  they should either reject the policy (35%) or wait for more 
  evidence of its effectiveness from Australia (34%).
- 72% of respondents believe the government would either a) fix a 
  policy review / ignore evidence that went against a preferred 
  policy (29%), or b) be reluctant to change their preferred policy 
  if the evidence was weighted against it (43%). 

Respondents are 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.
- 72% think it was important for the government to research the links
  between illegal tobacco and terrorist organizations. 

One year in, the latest data shows no impact on tobacco sales or smoking rates in the UK[3] and counterfeit plain packs were discovered on the high street as early as one month after the implementation of plain packaging.[4] An analysis conducted by JTI on UK counterfeit samples shows that tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels far exceed those allowed in the country. But this is only the tip of the iceberg: in some cases, counterfeits have been found to contain heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead[5], along with other toxic contaminants: asbestos, mold, dust, dead flies, rat droppings - and even human excrement.[6]

"Plain packaging is failing in the UK, as it has in Australia and France[7], and as we always warned that it would," states Jonathan Duce, Head of External Communications at JTI's global headquarters in Geneva. "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."

References

1. In Australia, which pioneered plain packaging in December 2012, 
   latest Government data shows that the long-term decline in smoking
   rates has now stalled: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use
   -of-drugs/ndshs-2016-key-findings/contents/highlights-from-the-201
   6-survey
2. After Australia implemented plain packaging, illegal tobacco sales
   went up by 30%. The overall illegal market is now at 15% - the 
   country's highest level on record: See "Illicit Tobacco in 
   Australia: 2017 Full Year Report", KPMG, April 2018: https://asset
   s.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/uk/pdf/2018/05/australia_illicit_tobac
   co_report_2017.pdf .
3. The scale of illegal tobacco in Australia - and related criminal 
   activity - has forced the government to set up a multi-agency 
   'Tobacco TaskForce': https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/gover
   nment-butt-squad-to-chase-billions-in-criminal-tobacco-fraud-20180
   505-p4zdiv.html
4. "TPD2 and standardized tobacco packaging - What impacts have they 
   had so far?", Europe Economics, May 2018:  
http://www.europe-economics.com/publications/15/publications.htm -
   Data on smoking rates for England, considered as representative 
   for the UK.
5. "EXCLUSIVE: First Fake Plain Packs Discovered, Rogue Retailers 
   Making 'Small Fortune' ",  BetterRetailing.com, November 10, 2017:
https://www.betterretailing.com/first-fake-plain-packs-discovered
   .
6. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sniffer-dogs-with-gopro-bod
   ycams-help-find-30000-fake-cigarettes-in-soho-a3547241.html
7. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/illegal-tobacco-tainted-by-asbe
   stos-and-rats-s2fpnsx26
8. In France, the second country to implement plain packaging four 
   months before the UK, Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn admitted that
   plain packaging doesn't stop people from smoking and that she was 
   against it from the outset: http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/15/c
   ri/2017-2018/20180075.asp#P1117763 [
http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/15/cri/2017-2018/20180075.asp] 

Data published by the French Observatory for Drugs and Addiction shows that one full year after the implementation of the policy, tobacco products shipped to retailers (cigarettes and RYO/MYO) were broadly stable in France, with only a slight evolution of -0.7% in volume, following a 1.3% increase in sales during the first half of the year: https://www.ofdt.fr/ofdt/fr/tt171225.pdf

Note to editors

Methodology:

2,464 interviews were conducted online among adults living in Great Britain between 12th to 19th April 2018. Interviews were conducted using the Kantar TNS Research Express, which uses the Lightspeed access panel as its sample source.

About Research Express

Research Express provides quick, reliable market research. Our scale and advanced operational capabilities saves our clients both time and money. Research Express is part of Kantar TNS.

About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is one of the world's largest research agencies with experts in over 90 countries. With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer experience, we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business. We are part of Kantar, one of the world's leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Find out more at http://www.tnsglobal.com.

About JTI

JTI is a leading international tobacco company with operations in more than 130 countries. It is the global owner of both Winston, the number two cigarette brand in the world, and Camel outside the USA and has the largest share in sales for both brands. Other global brands include Mevius and LD. With its internationally recognized brand Logic, JTI is also a major player in the e-cigarette market and has, since 2011, been present in the heated tobacco category with Ploom. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the company employs close to 40,000 people and was awarded Global Top Employer for four consecutive years. JTI is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies. For more information, visit http://www.jti.com.

Full report available here.

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please contact: Gisela Weber
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