ECMA reaffirms stance plain tobacco packaging

The European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) has reaffirmed its stance on plain tobacco packaging after the UK moved forward with plans to ban branding on cigarette packs.

Last week, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison told MPs that an independent report found it was ‘very likely to have a positive impact’ on public health and stop children from starting to smoke if plain tobacco packaging was introduced. Ellison is now set to publish draft regulations concerning plain tobacco packaging.

This follows the publishing of the report of an independent review into standardized packaging of tobacco, undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, April 3.

Sir Chantler was asked to look at the potential benefits, particularly to children, of plain packaging after the UK government postponed a decision on the matter last summer.

In his conclusion Sir Chantler stated: ‘Having reviewed the evidence it is in my view highly likely that standardized packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking and implausible that it would increase the consumption of tobacco. I am persuaded that branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke and in consolidating the habit irrespective of the intentions of the industry. Although I have not seen evidence that allows me to quantify the size of the likely impact of standardized packaging, I am satisfied that the body of evidence shows that standardized packaging, in conjunction with the current tobacco control regime, is very likely to lead to a modest but important reduction over time on the uptake and prevalence of smoking and thus have a positive impact on public health.’

Read the review report in full here

ECMA has previously addressed the issues that could stem from the widespread introduction of plain, standardized tobacco packaging in Europe. This included at its 2012 congress, where Jerzy Czubak, chairman of association’s tobacco forum, spoke on potential implications.

ECMA president Andreas Blaschke said: ‘Standardized packaging will make it simpler and cheaper to mass produce counterfeit cigarette packaging, which risks making illegal, unregulated tobacco products more available at a lower price.

‘Complex packaging is the first and best line of defence against counterfeiting. Without complexity, counterfeiters will find it easier to mass produce convincing copies and responsible packaging companies, like ECMA’s members, will no longer need to invest in the skilled staff and hi-tech machinery required to produce it.

‘This is a negative outcome for public health as well as the packaging industry.’

Source: Packprint World