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Fresh pours water on tobacco industry survey

Fresh has dismissed a tobacco industry survey of police officers claiming the introduction of standardised packaging will increase illegal tobacco.


Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh Smoke Free North East, said: “There is no evidence whatsoever.


“Despite repeated claims from the tobacco industry, the independent report from Sir Cyril Chantler, published in April of this year, found that standardised packaging will not increase the trade in illicit tobacco. The key security features found on existing packs of cigarettes would also be present on standardised packs. The report stated: “I am not convinced by the tobacco industry’s argument that standardised packaging would increase the illicit market, especially in counterfeit cigarettes. There is no evidence that standardised packaging is easier to counterfeit, and indeed in Australia, hardly any counterfeit standardised packages have been found to date.”


“National figures from HMRC as well as regional figures tracking thousands of people since 2009, have shown that fewer smokers are buying illegal tobacco, and the small minority that are buying it are buying less than they used to. Back in 2000, one in every five cigarettes was illegal. Now that figure is less than one in 10.


“This survey, which was taken of an unrepresentatively small number of police officers, is further evidence of scaremongering from the tobacco industry to try to derail efforts around standard packs. A recent YouGov poll found that 69% of adults in the North East support standard packs, so we urge the Government to consider introducing this important legislation which would reduce the appeal of smoking, and help to stop the 9,000 young people in our region that become hooked on smoking every year.”