Scotland Plans to Introduce Plain Packs for Cigarettes
A new study suggests that hundreds of shops in Scotland will be forced to close and thousands jobs will be lost if the Scottish Government will introduce plain box packaging for cigarettes.
A paper by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), supported by tobacco giant Philip Morris which produces Marlboro cigarettes, states that the goverment’s plan would deal a blow to business.
Ministers say they want to introduce new law which prohibits branding of cigarettes. Removing the charm of glamorous packaging will prevent children from taking up a cigarette.
The CEBR paper refers to a study made in Australia which has shown how smokers avoid small shops because it takes too much time to find their favorite brand among identical packages. Thus smokers go to supermarkets to buy cigarettes or to the black market, or abroad.
CEBR head of microeconomics, Oliver Hogan, says that their research reveals that the potential impact of this plain packaging policy may be upsetting for business. In Scotland it is expected a loss of £30 million in tobacco and non-tobacco earnings to small independent sellers and the loss of 700 shops and over 3,200 jobs. .
This will make smokers buy cigarettes on illegal markets, abroad and supermarkets. Thousands of customers will have no patience to wait in a line in a local shop while cashier finds right cigarettes among the plain packs.
These days Scottish government promotes anti-tobacco policy in order to reduce number of smokers in the country. The idea of introduction of plain packaging came from Australia where such law was already adopted.
Scotland is first part in the UK which banned smoking in public places, also there were banned displays of tobacco products in big stores which lead to a lawsuit. Experts say that the same consequences may have the law which bans usage of plain packaging.
Tobacco companies will use European Union law to demand compensation for any losses caused by plain packaging.
Scottish Government representative said that the Government stays devoted to the introduction of plain cigarette packs argumenting that this will be an important step in reducing the number of smokers among teenagers in the country. The main goal of such tobacco control policy is to improve public health.
The CEBR paper suggests that the new law would reduce sales of cigarettes by 4 — 8%.
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