UK should wait before leaping in on the plain packaging of cigarettes

Commenting on the New Zealand government’s decision to put forward legislation on the plain packaging of tobacco, Christopher Snowdon, research fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It’s disappointing that the New Zealand government is prepared to abolish intellectual property in this manner, but its wait-and-see policy reflects legitimate concerns about the cost of the legal battles involved. The news from New Zealand comes the day after a doctors’ lobby group in Britain explicitly called for tobacco-style regulation of food and drink, so businesses are justified in fearing for their own brands once the precedent is set with tobacco. 

“By the time the various court cases have been resolved, plain packaging will have been in effect in Australia for a year or two and we will be better placed to see what the consequences have been. 

“The British government has no reason to take a leap into the dark, especially when plain packaging is opposed by so many MPs, police officers, unions, trade associations and members of the public.”

Notes to editors:

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