France’s Health Minister has admitted that plain packaging for tobacco has failed after official sales of cigarettes actually increased following the stripping of branding from packs a year ago. Agnes Buzyn was speaking during a debate at the French National Assembly when she was asked by MP Gilles Lurton about the impact of the new packaging rules and the importance of carrying out a post-implementation assessment.
The Health Minister responded that they are aware plain packaging does not lead smokers to stop smoking, as official sales of cigarettes have actually increased in France since its implementation.
“Plain packaging did not contribute to the decrease of official tobacco sales. To date, we do not have a typology of those who continue smoking and do not know whether plain packaging was efficient to prevent young people to start smoking – I am currently awaiting the data of the relevant observatories”, maintained the Minister during the debate.
The acknowledgment that plain packaging has failed in France comes as Ireland also prepares to implement similar rules. It is expected that plain packs will begin to appear here over the coming months ahead of a deadline of 29th September 2018, so Minister Buzyn’s admission is certain to be of interest to Irish retailers and policy makers alike.
Meanwhile in Australia – the first country to introduce plain packaging in 2012 – the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently confirmed that “While smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend, for the first time in over two decades, the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (2013 to 2016).”
© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan