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IEA blog: importance of brands in a free society

Fri 10th February 2012, posted by editor

Plain packaging would set dangerous precedent

Writing for the Institute of Economic Affairs blog, Hands Off Our Packs campaigner Amul Pandya argus that plain packaging of tobacco will set a dangerous precedent:

There is a significant danger that once the precedent has been set with plain packaging, similar legislation will be extended to other areas.

For instance, Dr Simon Chapman, the chief proponent and figurehead of plain packaging in Australia, has publicly stated he would like to see graphic health warnings on alcohol products. Indeed it is important to note that ‘sin taxes’ and stronger licensing rules are already in the pipeline for non-tobacco products.

As the IEA monograph Prohibitions sets out, there is a strong relationship between restrictive lifestyle legislation and the black market, where products are not safely tested and are sold to the more vulnerable sections of society.

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In 2012 the Government held a public consultation on whether the UK should adopt standardised (or 'plain') packaging for tobacco products. In total the consultation received over 665,000 responses, with a substantial majority (427,888) opposed to the policy. In November 2013 the Government announced a further review of the evidence on standardised packaging and commissioned paediatrician Sir Cyril Chantler submit a report by the end of March 2014. The report was published on April 3 when public health minister Jane Ellison simultaneously announced that it was "minded" to proceed with the policy subject to a "final short consultation". To make your views known please visit our NO PRIME MINISTER microsite NOW! To receive updates about our campaign please enter your details below.

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