Forest - Voice and Friend of the Smoker
Forest attacks Government's tobacco control plan

NEWS RELEASE Wednesday 9th March, 2011

The Government’s decision to ban the display of tobacco products in shops will damage the retail trade, encourage organised crime and discriminate against law-abiding consumers, according to Forest, the smokers’ lobby group.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“If the Government’s tobacco control plan goes ahead Britain will become a smugglers’ paradise. The sale of tobacco will move from responsible, legitimate retailers selling to law-abiding consumers, to irresponsible criminals who won’t think twice about selling cigarettes to children.

“The display ban is designed to stop young people being enticed by ‘glitzy’ packaging. Hardly anyone buys tobacco on impulse and tens of millions of people have never been encouraged to smoke by the sight of a cigarette pack behind the counter or anywhere else.

“In opposition both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems opposed a display ban on the grounds of the financial cost to small retailers and the lack of evidence that a ban will reduce youth smoking rates. What has changed?

“Labour’s election defeat was supposed to signal the end of hyper-regulation and the bully state. The Conservatives are supposed to be the party of business, deregulation and the free market.

“They say they believe in personal responsibility and the right to make informed choices without excessive government intervention. Instead, we get more oppressive rules and regulations.”

Commenting on the announcement by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley that the Government retains an “open mind” on plain packaging, Clark added:

“There is no evidence that plain packaging would have any impact on smoking rates. Instead it would make it easier for counterfeiters to flood the market with illicit cigarettes.

“Hiding a legal product under the counter in a plain unbranded pack could drive even more consumers into the hands of black marketeers who can offer a similar product at half the price."


Note: you can comment on this story on Simon Clark's Taking Liberties blog.

See also Simon Clark's article on Conservative Home:
Whatever happened to the party of business, de-regulation and personal responsibility?

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