JTI Calls for Transparency on Australian 'Plain' Packaging Report
GENEVA, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire=KYODO JBN/ -
- Delayed Publication of Government's Post-Implementation Review Raises Concern
about its Integrity
The Australian Government has yet to publish its Post-Implementation Review
(PIR) into 'plain' packaging for tobacco products, six months after the
consultation period ended. The delay has prompted concerns that the authors of
the report could be misrepresenting the data and even omitting evidence to
ensure that the policy is perceived as a success.
Plain packaging was introduced in 2012 with the aim of reducing smoking levels.
The latest official data from the Australian Government shows no change to
the decline in smoking rates, making it increasingly difficult for supporters
to claim plain packaging has achieved its goals.
"The Department of Health (DoH) knows that this policy has failed," says
Michiel Reerink, JTI's Regulatory Strategy Vice President. "The objective of
the ban on brands was to improve public health by discouraging people from
using tobacco products, and reducing their exposure to tobacco smoke. The
Government's own data shows that these objectives have not been met," he adds.
The DoH opened its review into plain packaging earlier this year, calling for
evidence about the impact of the policy. That consultation period ended in
March 2015. Government guidelines suggest that PIRs should be published
within 3-6 months of information being gathered.
"Tobacco control lobbyists are travelling around the world on taxpayers' money
to convince regulators that plain packaging has been a success in Australia,"
continues Mr. Reerink. "But anyone who looks at the official data can see for
themselves: there is no proof that this ban on brands has worked."
"We urge the Department of Health to publish a complete and transparent review
of this policy, without further delay," suggests Mr. Reerink. "The PIR should
be based on all of the evidence, in-line with the requirements of the
Australian Government's Office of Best Practice Regulation. Crucially, the
results of the plain packaging policy should be measured against its original
objectives. Without this report being published soon, people risk being misled
by biased reports and analysis on a measure that has done nothing to improve
public health," he concludes.
Notes to editors
According to the Australian Government:
"The objectives of the plain packaging measure are to:
reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products to consumers,
particularly young people;
increase the noticeability and effectiveness of mandated health warnings;
reduce the ability of the retail packaging of tobacco products to mislead
consumers about the harms of smoking; and
through the achievement of these aims in the long term, as part of a
comprehensive package of tobacco control measures, contribute to efforts to
reduce smoking rates"
JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading
international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as
Winston, Camel, Mevius and LD. Other global brands include Benson & Hedges,
Silk Cut, Sobranie and Glamour. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and
about 26,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120
countries. Its core revenue in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, was USD
11.9 billion. For more information, visit http://www.jti.com.
1. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013: tobacco, alcohol and illicit
SOURCE: JTI (Japan Tobacco International)