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Imperial Tobacco submits response to plain packaging proposals

06 August, 2012

Imperial Tobacco has submiitted its response to the public consultation on plain tobacco packaging.

The UK consultation closes on August 10, but the Government has not confirmed when it will publish a summary report of the responses it has received, according to Colin Wragg, Imperial Tobacco's head of corporate and legal affairs.

“Our current expectation is that we could see something towards the end of the calendar year or in early 2013,” he said.

“We trust the Government will have an open view with this consultation, and will take notice of the submissions from retailers, wholesalers and packaging manufacturers whose businesses are threatened by these proposals.”

In its submission Imperial Tobacco says it supports sound, evidence-based, reasonable and practicable regulation of tobacco products and encourages the Government to respect the principles of adult choice, freedom of competition and international law when doing so.

However, it says the introduction of legislation that prevents the owner of a lawful product from differentiating their product from those of their competitors, depriving them of the ability to exploit their intellectual property, would be unprecedented in the UK and would require the clearest and most cogent justification.

“One would expect, therefore, the consultation to set out a rigorous and comprehensive assessment, supported by solid, credible evidence that standardised packaging will achieve the Government's stated objectives and that the benefits of introducing standardised packaging will outweigh the costs,” says the submission.

Imperial Tobacco believes the introduction of standardised packaging would be bad for business, bad for consumers and good for criminals because: there is no credible evidence or research; it will increase the trade in illicit tobacco; it will put the Government in breach of national, European and international law; it is anti-business, anti-competitive and anti-consumer; the consultation process is fundamentally flawed; and it goes against the Governments own principles and objectives.

The full text of its submission is on the company’s website at www.imperial-tobacco.com.