Tobacco firm John Player has claimed that the Australian government's tobacco plain packaging legislation, which marked its second anniversary yesterday, has 'spectacularly flopped', following research that indicates youth smoking has risen since implementation.
Recently released data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has indicated that the percentage of 12-17 year olds that smoke 'daily' rose in 2013 to 3.4%, up from 2.5% in 2010.
In addition, a report from the Australian National University also shows that rather than Australians cutting down on smoking, many have simply transferred to buying cheaper brands.
“Plain packaging has caused no departure from long term trends in Australia," said John Player Market Manager, Peter Lassche. "However the data is worryingly showing that more 12-17 year olds are smoking on a daily basis now than before the rules on packaging came into effect. This must be of great concern to plain packaging lobbyists in Ireland."
Also commenting on the findings, JTI Ireland noted that Australia has seen an increase in seizures of illicit tobacco over the last two years, by 41%, from 2011/12 to 2012/13.
Commenting, Igor Dzaja, General Manager of JTI Ireland said, “The evidence should make sobering reading for those who claimed it would result in public health benefits. Plain packaging is a disproportionate, unjustified and illegal measure that, if introduced here, will have significant negative implications for Ireland on a number of levels.
"Its ineffectiveness has been demonstrated over two years in Australia, so Ireland should learn from that country’s mistakes rather than repeat them.”
Last week, NFRN Ireland also weighed in on the debate, saying that plain packaging would only serve to exacerbate the black market issue in this country.
“Our members can see from the front line of retailing that illegal cigarettes are everywhere in Ireland," said Public Affairs Manager for NFRN Ireland Deirdre Drennan. "The rate of Customs and Garda seizures – inevitably only the tip of the iceberg - bears this out.
“The government should take a sensible approach and wait until the full evidence from Australia is in before pushing ahead with plain packaging.”
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones