Plain Packing Plan for Cigarettes abandoned by UK

by JJP

plain cigarette packs counterfeit cigarettes smuggled cigarettes

Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013


The British Government is to abandon its plans to force the implementation of plain packaging for cigarettes in a move that will please the packaging and tobacco industries. (BBC Radio Four News 7:00am May 2nd 2013)

The plans have been dropped so that the Government can focus on more important key policies ahead of next week’s Queens Speech.

It has also been noted that UK smokers, fed up with rising prices and tax increases are turning to smuggled and counterfeit tobacco in an effort to save money.

Printed (Branded) packaging is thought to be one of the few devices available for securely recognising counterfeit branded packs. Plain Packaging would have made this task much more difficult.

That said though, about one in six (16%) of cigarettes currently smoked in the UK is surreptitious, being counterfeit or obtained through non-taxable channels.

According the HMRC the exchequer loses about £1.2 billion of revenue to illegal supplies and this figure does not take into account the losses suffered by legal resellers such as supermarkets and tobacconists. Nor does it take into account the extra damage done to health through smoking counterfeit cigarettes that may contain toxic substance that are used to ‘flesh out’ the product.

For more data on this subject including statistics on counterfeit tobacco and its effects in the UK see the forthcoming issue of Product & Image Security Newsletter.


About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.