Smoking announcement a victory for ‘enemies of enterprise’

Mark Littlewood comments on the government's display ban proposals

Banning the display of cigarettes will not stop people smoking but will instead simply harm businesses, said Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, in response to today’s announcement.

He said:

“Today’s announcement is a victory for regulation and the ‘enemies of enterprise’ that David Cameron declared war on only a few days ago. It is yet another heavy-handed and costly intervention by government that will hurt businesses and, as many studies have shown, will do nothing to lower smoking prevalence.

“The proposed consultation on plain packaging is a further unwelcome step. Illicit tobacco already makes up some 20% of the market in the UK and plain packaging will simply make it easier for providers of illicit tobacco to pass off their wares as legitimate. It will help create a thriving black market and will see tax revenues fall.

“The government announced its commitment to enterprise only last weekend; today’s announcement raises the fear that it was merely rhetoric.”

 

To arrange an interview with Mark Littlewood, IEA Director General, please contact Nick Hayns, Communications Officer, 020 7799 8900, nhayns@iea.org.uk.

 

Notes to editors

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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