Outbreak of Common Sense As UK Government Puts Plain Packaging On Hold
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed today’s news that the UK government is to postpone its plans to introduce standardised plain packaging for cigarettes. Ministers are expected to tell MPs that a decision on the policy has been formally delayed so that more time can be spent examining how similar plans have worked in Australia.
The announcement comes just days after a key European Parliament Committee voted against adopting plain packaging across the EU. Taken together these decisions could represent a significant blow to the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce similar measures north of the border.
Chief Executive John Drummond said,
“The UK government has now shown the same common sense approach as the European Parliament’s Environment Committee There is now a clear momentum at UK and European level to abandon this ineffective policy. We can now begin to tackle the real issues such as the illicit trade, which costs responsible retailers up to £30,000 in lost sales each year.”
Drummond also hit back at those campaigning groups which have criticised the UK government’s announcement, adding that,
“There is simply no robust evidence to show that packaging encourages young people to start smoking: peer pressure and what happens in the home are the most important factors. We need an informed and intelligent debate and the consistently misleading statements on plain packaging by anti-smoking groups prevent this from happening and only help to confuse the issue”.
SGF also pointed out that smoking in Scotland is essentially an issue about health inequality – people in our more deprived communities are much more likely to smoke – and blanket measures such as plain packaging totally fail to address this key issue.