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Open Letter

Open Letter

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Published by Guido Fawkes

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Published by: Guido Fawkes on Jun 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

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HOUSEOFCOMMONS
LONDON
SWIAOAA
DepartmentofHealthRichmondHouse79WhitehallLondonSW1A2NSDearSecretaryofState,WewishtoexpressourseriousconcernswiththeDepartmentofHealth'sproposaltointroducestandardisedor'plain'packagingfortobaccoproducts.Thereisnoreliableevidencethatplainpackagingwillhaveanypublichealthbenefit;nocountryintheworldhasyettointroduce
it
However,suchameasurecouldhaveextremelynegativeconsequenceselsewhere.Thisproposalwillbeasmuggler'scharter.LatestestimatesfromHMRevenueandCustomsshowthatupto16%ofcigarettesand50%ofhandrollingtobaccointheUKissmuggled,losingrevenueofupto£3.1billion.Weareworriedthatstandardisedpackagingwouldmakesmugglingsimplerandexacerbatethisalreadycriticalproblemascriminalorganisationswouldonlyberequiredtomasteronepackdesign.Secondly,thispolicythreatensmorethan5,500jobsdirectlyemployedbytheUKtobaccosector,andover65,000valuedjobsintheassociatedsupplychain.Jobsindesignandbrandingaswellasthoseinmanufacturingandprintingareallatriskovertheproposalsandtheresultingbusinessfailurescoulddecimateemploymentinsomecommunities.Giventhecontinueddifficulteconomicclimate,businessesshouldnotbesubjectedtofurtherredtapeandregulationthatmayhaveaseriousimpactonfutureinvestment,expansionandjobsinothersectors.Thirdly,webelieveproductsmustbeaffordedcertainbasiccommercialfreedoms.Theforcibleremovalofbrandingwouldinfringefundamentallegalrights,severelydamageprinciplesaroundintellectualpropertyandsetadangerousprecedentforthefutureofcommercialfreespeech.Indeed,iftheDepartmentofHealthweretointroducestandardisedpackagingfortobaccoproducts,woulditalsodothesameforalcohol,fastfood,chocolateandallotherproductsdeemedunhealthyforus?ThereareothermoreeffectiveandpracticalmeasureswhichdonotdamageUKbusinessesthatshouldcontinuetobetakentodiscourage,educateandpreventchildrenfromtakingupsmoking-theseincludeguidingandsupportingretailerstohelpensurethoseunderthelegalageof18arenotabletopurchasetobaccoproducts.Withthedisplayban,whichwillremovethevisibilityoftobaccoproductsinshopscurrentlybeingphasedinacrosstheUK,weurgetheGovernmenttoreservejudgementandtocancelproposalsforstandardisedpackagingafterconsideringfullythehostofunintendeddamagingconsequencesthatwillresultinitsintroduction.YoursSincerely,
 
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