We support regulation that is reasonable, proportionate, based on robust evidence and delivers on the intended policy aims, while recognising unintended consequences.
It is critical that the Government avoids any regulation which boosts the profits of criminal cigarette smugglers at the expense of genuine local businesses. This is why we are opposed to the intention to ban retail display and point of sale. A ban on retail display will give easy access for criminals to infiltrate legitimate trade channels with illegal products by moving tobacco under the counter.
Illegal cigarettes are unregulated and target young and disadvantaged people. We believe that Youth Anti-Smoking Programmes as well as “age of sale” signage at all points of sale are more effective and efficient measures of dealing with youth smoking. Implementing a ban on vending machines cigarette sales will also prevent easy access of cigarettes to under-age consumers.
A stringent regulation on plain packaging and extended health warnings is also counterproductive and it will have a negative impact on the farming sector.
Plain packaging of cigarette packs will not lead to a decrease in smoking incidence but will lead to an increase of the illicit market. Illegal cigarettes will be more affordable and appealing to consumers, negatively impacting not only the local farming revenue but also the duty collected by the government. The quality of leaf provided by farmers will no longer matter causing a huge impact on both farmers and producers.