MONTREAL, Dec. 1, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The anti-tobacco lobby in Canada is currently pushing for plain packaging as one of the next possible actions against Canada's legal tobacco industry. On the second anniversary of Australia's introduction of plain packaging, Imperial Tobacco Canada points to Australia as a failed experiment, which demonstrates that extreme regulatory measures such as plain packaging fail to meet public health objectives, and serves only to fuel the illegal tobacco trade to the detriment of tax payers and the current regulatory framework.
Reports from KPMG (UK) and the Australian Government reveal that Australia has experienced significant increases in youth smoking rates and illegal tobacco consumption since the introduction of plain packaging – two outcomes that negatively impact all members of society.
"It is clear to see that plain packaging has not delivered on any of the promises made by its supporters around the world before its introduction," said Caroline Ferland, Vice-President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Imperial Tobacco Canada. "When plain packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012, tobacco control groups and the Australian Government outlined three objectives: reduce overall smoking rates; reduce youth smoking rates; and increase the effectiveness of health warnings."
Two years after the introduction of plain packaging in Australia, metrics demonstrate that the policy has failed to deliver on any of its promises:
- Youth smoking rates are at a seven-year high following the introduction of Plain Packaging
- Plain Packaging has had no effect on adult smoking rates
- The prominence of health warnings has diminished following Plain Packaging
- The percentage of smokers surveyed consuming more than 11 cigarettes a day has increased.
"Not only has the introduction of plain packaging in Australia failed to meet its desired health objectives, the Australian taxpayers and Government have lost out on AUS$1.2 billion in tax revenue due to the 25% increase in illicit trade in tobacco since 2012, which is now at its highest level in seven years," continued Ferland.
Imperial Tobacco Canada urges governments across Canada to not be blinded by the well-funded anti-tobacco lobby who continue to urge for extreme regulations despite a lack of evidence to support their claims, and encourages governments to opt for regulations that are based on fact and evidence, rather than taking actions that have unintended consequences on the whole of society.
"The Federal Government stated their intention to monitor the outcome of the Australian experiment," concluded Ferland. "After two years, the facts are in: the Australian government's own figures demonstrate that the policy has been counterproductive."
Given the existing regulatory environment in Canada, where age verification is required at point of sale, where packs are hidden from view at point of sale, where 75% of package surfaces consist of health warnings, and where compliance monitoring is conducted continuously, as well as the fact that the illegal tobacco trade continues to flourish with criminal organizations operating over 350 'smoke shacks' and 50 illegal factories that manufacture and sell tobacco products outside the government mandated regulatory framework, it becomes very difficult to see any benefit to the adoption of plain packaging.
SOURCE: Imperial Tobacco Canada
For further information: Sebastien Dolan, 514-932-6161 ext. 2222