Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One More Ban will Weaken Cigarettes Sale

A ban on branded cigarette packaging would weaken its sales, a report said. Government said that it will force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain. Government thinks that unbranded packets could be the most powerful tool yet unleashed in the war on smoking.
The tobacco industry has admitted that the new tactic, being pioneered in Britain but likely to be followed elsewhere, will cut profits and inflict enormous damage on cigarette manufacturers.
Tobacco analysts have warned in a leading industry magazine that a ban on branding and logos on packets would lead smokers to abandon well-known brands such as Marlboro and Silk Cut, which cost up to £6 a pack, and switch to cheaper options.
Researchers said that the ban on cigarette packaging will strip cigarettes of their glamorous image then will reduce also the numbers of young people taking up the habit.
The Department of Health considers that logos, colors and graphics on packets are used illegal and require them to be sold in plain packaging.
Adam Spielman, a tobacco analyst at Citigroup, said: "Plain packaging would level the playing field, making premium brands less attractive to smokers, and would lead to a rapid worsening of the falling sales trend which has been going on for years in the UK, far and away the most expensive country in Europe for smokers."
Tobacco companies fear that introducing the plain packaging would prompt many smokers to abandon the premium brands such as Marlboro and Benson and Hedges, and instead switch to much cheaper makes costing £3.50 to £4.
The tobacco industry reported that as cigarette advertising is banned in the UK, packs have become more elaborate as they are the best way manufacturers can promote their brands and distinguish them from rival products.
Recently the Health Department closed its consultation on a raft of measures to reduce the number of smokers even further, which has fallen to 22 percent of the adult population. They include plain packaging, banning cigarettes from public displays in shops, outlawing packs of 10 and getting rid of vending cigarette machines.
In this year it received even more responses than the 55,000 it got before last year's public smoking ban.
Deborah Arnott, director of health campaigning charity Ash, said: "The industry cannot survive without recruiting replacements for the 100,000 UK citizens its products kill each year. Most of these new smokers are children and young people, who our research shows find plain packs much less attractive."
The tobacco industry argued that this move will lead to a rise in cigarette smuggling.

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