The tobacco industry has hit back at the government’s plan to enforce plain packaging for cigarettes, warning that the ruling will cause a rise in counterfeits being smuggled into the UK.
As legal battles rage between the UK government and British American Tobacco, this latest challenge comes after it was revealed yesterday that an official Australian study, to be published next month, will be used by the UK government as ammunition in its battle to remove tobacco branding.
The report by Australia’s department for health will show that smoking rates have reduced since the introduction of plain packaging. Some opponents argue that a combination of factors have led to a decline in smoking rates over many years.
The UK government ruled in favour of removing branding from cigarette packets last March.
Tobacco industry sources have warned of a rise in the UK’s counterfeit trade and questioned the validity of the study in the UK.
Industry sources said that removing branding will put the accessibility of “non-shop” and illegal tobacco in the spotlight.
“The UK now has the most expensive tobacco in Europe, but the number of quitters has flatlined.
“People are not stopping smoking, they are using increasingly illicit means.”
The UK department for health could not be reached for comment.