The Scottish Government’s plans to adopt plain packaging for tobacco could boost the black market and hit legitimate shops, retailers in Australia have warned.

Plain packaging in Australia has seen the sale of illicit tobacco, such as ‘Manchester’, increase by 154%, according to KPMG’s report ‘The Impact of Plain Packaging on Australian Small Retailers’.

[pull_quote_center]We would urge Scotland not to make the same mistake as Australia – AACS chief executive Jeff Rogut[/pull_quote_center]

AACS chief executive Jeff Rogut said: “We would urge Scotland not to make the same mistake as Australia by adopting plain packaging. The spike in costs to retailers from plain packaging, combined with a booming illegal trade is having a dramatic effect, with retailers being forced to absorb additional costs at the same time as losing customers to the black market.”

The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), shared more data from the report with the Scottish Grocers’ Federation:

  • 70% of retailers have been negatively affected by plain packaging
  • 67% say the growth of the black market has had an impact on their business since plain packaging was introduced