Imperial Tobacco Chief Exec says they will battle packaging ban though courts
The Chief Executive of British tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco has said they, along with the other tobacco companies in the country, will “absolutely” battle a potential ban of cigarette packaging if such a policy were to be introduced in England. Alison Cooper from the FTSE 100 company made the comments in response to the challenge raised by tobacco companies in Australia last month. Cooper commented: “It’s absolutely something we would challenge but I’m really hoping we don’t get to that”.
The government announced last month that they are looking into bringing legislation, which will see branding, colours and logos banned from packets of cigarettes, into force in England. A similar policy was passed in Australia last year and they are on course to be the first country in the world to enforce plain packaging later on this year. Four of the largest tobacco companies in Australia launched a legal battle against the Australian government’s plans last month.
There have been calls for the Business Secretary Vince Cable to intervene in the plain packaging argument in the UK due to the potential impact on business and jobs here. An estimated 70,000 people in the UK are thought to be employed by the tobacco industry.
The other major argument raised by tobacco companies against the proposed plain packaging policy is the potential impact on the illegal cigarette trade in the UK. Approximately one in four cigarettes purchased in the UK is thought to be from the black market; a figure which has been predicted to increase should the new policy be introduced.