On the two-year anniversary of the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco in Australia a study has revealed that the legislation has failed to meet its objectives.
The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 came into force in the country on December 1, 2012, banning all branding and trademarks from cigarette packets except for the brand name, which is only permitted in a standard font.
The legislation aimed to reduce smoking among young people, reduce overall smoking and increase the effectiveness of health warnings.
However, research carried out by KPMG found that youth smoking rates have increased by 36% and that illegal tobacco sales are the highest in seven years.
KPMG said illegal tobacco was up by 25% between 2012 and 2014, and that annual consumption of the illicit product had risen by 500,000kg.
Ronald Ridderbeekx, head of corporate and regulatory affairs for British American Tobacco, said: “It’s clear the experiment in Australia isn’t working: smoking rates have not been affected and the black market has grown by 25%.
“Retailers here in the UK are already under pressure from the illicit market and this would make the problem so much worse.”
Ridderbeekx called on the Government to review how existing regulation, such as the tobacco display ban that comes into full force from April 6, 2015, is working before considering the next step.
He said: “To help the economic recovery, retailers need help from the Government, not yet more cumbersome regulation.”