Australian Government Report Jumps to Conclusions to Mask Failure of 'Plain' Packaging

Analysis Disregards Pre-Existing Decline in Smoking Rates and Speculates that Objectives will be Met in the Long-Term

GENEVA, Feb. 26, 2016 /CNW/ - The Australian Department of Health's Post-Implementation Review (PIR) of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act1, published today over eight months too late, comes to the shaky conclusion that the measure will work over time even though it is unable to support this claim with credible analysis.

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"The report fails to properly take into account that smoking rates had been steadily declining for years, long before the introduction of this branding ban, and that the measure hasn't accelerated this decline"2, says Michiel Reerink, JTI's Regulatory Strategy Vice President. "Instead, smokers just switched to cheaper cigarettes". JTI already predicted this in a submission to the Australian Government in 20113, more than a year before the measure came into force, which was later confirmed by observations of the Australian experience4.

"The PIR admits, however, that plain packaging on its own did not drive down smoking rates, as a number of measures - including massive tax increases - came into force in the same period", continues Mr. Reerink.

In a desperate effort to justify the branding ban, the DoH tries to argue that the measure is 'beginning to work' and that its full effect will only be clear over time.

"This shortcut analysis was only designed to fulfill political agendas. It doesn't inspire much trust in the Government's practices", concludes Mr. Reerink.

JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Winston, Camel, Mevius and LD. Other global brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie and Glamour. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and about 26,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries. Its core revenue in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, was USD 10.3 billion. For more information, visit http://www.jti.com.

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1 Post-Implementation Review - Tobacco Plain Packaging, Australian Government, Department of Health, February 26, 2016: http://ris.dpmc.gov.au/2016/02/26/tobacco-plain-packaging/

2 "National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013: tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs", Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government.

3 "JTI's response to the Australian Government's Consultation Paper on the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011, June 2, 2011.

4 "Plain Wrong: cheap smokes are on the rise since plain packaging". The Australian, C. Kerr and A. Creighton, June 18, 2014.

SOURCE JTI (Japan Tobacco International)


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