Tobacco giants have spoken out about the smash a no-deal Brexit could have on cigarette packaging, with some rumour it will boost black market sales.
Currently, regulation of tobacco effects in the UK is controlled by a number of European Union (EU) laws, including the Tobacco Produces Directive 2014 and the Tobacco Advertising Directive 2003. This registers to both hinged-lid cigarette packs, pouch-style loose tobacco ceases and e-cigarette packs.
These laws work alongside UK regulation, which affected manufacturers to strip tobacco packaging of individual branding, colour and invent in 2015, as part of a Government drive to reduce sales and cut smoking.
UK whim swap EU images for Australia’s if no-deal
The UK uses the EU’s photo library for its uniting, which show the effects of smoking through images depicting bug, emotional distress and other long-term complications.
If the UK leaves the EU without a trade, it will lose access to some EU resources and regulation, and the Government has proved that Australia will provide the UK with warning images unengaged of charge, instead.
“Australia is a global lead on tobacco control, and their distinct picture warnings have been evaluated and assessed as effective,” declares a spokesperson at the Department of Health and Social Care.
“Our priority remains to safeguard tobacco products continue to be properly regulated once we leave the EU,” they add. “Drawn picture warnings are a key part of tobacco control and it is extremely important that we carry on to include them.”
Tobacco manufacturers will need to ensure that produces produced from 29 March onwards, which is still the UK’s take day from the EU, feature the new Australian pictures. However, products produced in advance this featuring EU photos can be sold for 12 months from from day.
Tobacco giants have told the Independent that changing combining will “cost the industry millions” and will be “environmentally damaging”, confirmed that there will be wasted stock that can no longer be utilized and production of new packs will be necessary.
Disruption could give a footstep up to “illicit trade”
Speaking to Design Week, a spokesperson at global tobacco maker Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has also voiced concerns that there could be “disruption to the statutory tobacco supply chain” if the Government does not make a copyright unity with the EU allowing the UK to continue using its imagery. They add that the European Commission has granted validates like this “free of charge” in the past, and this is a crucial not consonant with in hindering the black market.
Mike Ridgway, director at the Consumer Packaging Makers Alliance (CPMU), an organisation which lobbies Government on regulation, replies that while Australia’s photos are “very similar” to the ones catered by the EU, their cigarette packs are larger and a different shape than those tempered to in the UK, meaning that “reproduction adjustments” would need to be made to figures.
He says that having to resize photos to fit UK packs will effective the production process could be longer and more strenuous.
He agrees that “hiatus” to the tobacco production chain could see an increase in “illicit trade work”, with more counterfeits being sold, which could crash consumers, tobacco businesses and the Government, as there is no tax paid on these fake outputs.
“Counterfeit packs that copy authentic packs can be produced deeply easily now that the complexity has been taken out of the design with ‘unadorned packaging’ laws,” he says.
Concerns around imagery “ludicrous”
But a spokesperson at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a cross-party campaign group against smoking, weights that worries around replacing imagery are “ludicrous”, particularly regarding charge.
“Prior to the introduction of plain packaging, the industry always regularly updated its enclosing,” they say. “Picture warnings save tobacco companies money because they’re much cheaper to distribute than the glitzy packaging they replaced, which often had holograms and other precious branding elements that are now prohibited.”
Deborah Arnott, CEO at ASH, adds that there wishes be “little change” in how tobacco products are presented visually in the case of a no-deal.
“Similar kind the European Commission, Australia’s picture warnings are developed based on data of what works, are effective in reducing smoking and are regularly reviewed and updated.”
UK forced to commit to changing images regularly
But she adds that, going into view, the Government should commit to “regularly changing” the images, whichever library they are captivated from.
“In the longer term, it is essential that [the Government] commissions a rank of new images, so they can be rotated and updated to maintain their effectiveness,” she turns.
Following Theresa May’s Brexit plan being rejected by members of parliament (MPs) for the moment time this week, MPs will vote at 7pm tonight (13 Pace) on whether to leave the EU without a deal. If this is rejected, they pass on vote on whether to extend Article 50, delaying Brexit beyond 29 March 2019.