BAT seeks evidenced-based debate on plain packaging

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The world’s most international tobacco company, British American Tobacco, declares that plain tobacco packaging would not have effects in decreasing smoking rates as tobacco packaging does not represent an essential element in people’s decision to smoke or stop smoking.

This is one of the major arguments brought up by the tobacco group in a 132 page submission to the UK’s Department of Health.

The submission was created in reply to the UK government’s public consultation on plain packaging that started on April 16 and closed on August 10.

However, the world’s second-largest tobacco company that produces well-known Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes had other key arguments:

– The Department of Health has not examined the relevant study and reckons upon scanty and doubtful prove that fails to make the key link between packaging and any lessening in smoking.

– It would reinforce an already serious illicit trade trouble in the UK.

– It would have other important negative unintentional effects such as falling prices and thus increasing smoking, decreasing government income, and damaging small business.

– Plain Packaging is illegal as it would not only break some UK, EU and international laws and agreements, but would be a reason for a wholesale expropriation of BAT’s significant intellectual property, demanding payment by the government of very serious compensation.

– Taking into account the admitted risks, the Department of Health has not shown that the advantages would outweigh the negative effects of plain packaging.

– There are several alternative evidence-based variants that are corresponding, efficient, workable and can reach public health purposes.

Phil Morse, BAT’s UK & Ireland general manager, said on the company’s website that as the company specified their submission, they make an objection to plain packaging for many credible reasons. ‘Indeed, the company considers that the arguments against plain packaging are innumerable. Especially, BAT considers that the Department of Health’s research into the potential advantages of plain packaging reckons upon poor and questionable prove that fails to show the key link between packaging and any lessening in smoking.

Phil Morse added that the tobacco company accepts this consultation and the government’s stated obligation to a transparent debate and consultation process. The group hopes that the government’s commitment to supporting impartiality is shown over the coming weeks and months.

‘As a tobacco industry that employs thousands of people in the UK and increases billions in taxes for the treasury, the company is asking for is a just, open, evidence-based debate concerning an important question that could have terrible unintentional consequences.’

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