Plain packaging would be a draconian attack on freedom

Commenting on the closure of the consultation on plain packaging for tobacco, Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director, at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Plain packaging legislation would represent a draconian attack on the freedom of smokers, retailers and manufacturers. Branding on packaging plays an important role in providing information for consumers, helping them choose between high and low-quality products. Accordingly there is a serious risk that plain packaging would lead to more smokers buying counterfeit products containing high levels of dangerous chemicals. Plain packaging is therefore likely to be entirely counterproductive from a health standpoint. The evidence that it would reduce smoking is also highly questionable.

“The government has stated its commitment to deregulation and reducing nanny-state interference in people's lives. Plain packaging legislation would completely contradict these policy objectives by placing strict controls on businesses and restricting choice for consumers.”

  

Notes to editors

If you would like a copy of the IEA’s submission on the plain packaging of tobacco, or to arrange an interview,please contact Ruth Porter, Communications Director, rporter@iea.org.uk or 077 5171 7781.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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