THE tobacco industry, and those that lobby on its behalf, have responded to campaigning for plain packaging for all tobacco products with scaremongering about counterfeiters and the illegal trade ("Non-branded tobacco warning", The Herald, August 22).
The Tobacco Retailers Association is funded by the Tobacco Manufacturer's Association whose members include Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and British American Tobacco. It operates as the industry's mouthpiece.
The reality is that existing packs are very easily copied by smugglers. Standardised packs will still carry picture health warnings, as well as hidden security markings to show they are being legally traded, and will be no easier to counterfeit. Professionals working in Trading Standards and Customs and Revenue do not endorse tobacco industry concerns about standardised packaging increasing illicit sales. The argument is a red herring, one that has been used against just about any effective health measure that might impact on future tobacco industry profits.
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