Battling Big Tobacco’s propaganda on plain packaging

In an effort to block plain packaging laws coming into force across the world, the tobacco industry keeps pedalling propaganda about links to rising amounts of illicit tobacco.

Pictured: HMRC’s estimate of the size of the illicit tobacco market in the UK, plotted alongside the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes (in 2014 GPP). The illicit market has consistently fallen at a time when tobacco prices have increased.

To help dispel this propaganda, ASH Scotland has released a new report, Dodgy Cigs. The report details how the tobacco industry has raised ill-founded concerns about plain packaging leading to a rise in the market for illicit tobacco, such as smuggled tobacco and counterfeit cigarettes.

A good example of this is in Australia, the first country to introduce plain packaging. The tobacco industry there claimed the policy would lead to greater use of illicit tobacco; however, official figures in the years since implementation have shown otherwise.

In the UK, the illicit tobacco market has declined since the year 2000, despite new laws protecting people from tobacco and increases in the prices of cigarettes.

Find out more about the tobacco industry tactics by downloading the Dodgy Cigs report.

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