Plain Cigarette Packs in Europa

Published on December 29th, 2010 11:26

The European Union is introduced a proposal to ban colors and logos on cigarette packages, requiring cigarette companies to sell their tobacco brands in generic, black-and-white packaging.

According to the proposed law, cigarette packs would carry only a health warning and the rand name, written in a standard format. As tobacco advertising was banned across the EU in 2003, cigarette packages have been the only means of advertising and marketing for the tobacco companies.

Opponents of the ordinance have two weeks to express their opinion, with a final decision scheduled in February. En in case the EU lawmakers approves the measure, it could take up to 5 years for the law to be implemented – especially if tobacco industry decides to initiate a legal challenge against the ordinance.

plain pack cigarettes

The UK Secretary for Public Health, Andrew Lansley, said that generic packs would make cigarettes less attractive for teenagers and protect youth from starting the habit. However, the Association of Tobacco Manufacturers argues, stating that the plain packaging plan has not been proven by public health benefits of other compelling evidence.

The International Advertising Association (IAA) has sent a letter to the EU opposing the ban of on-pack cigarette branding. Erich Buxbaum, vice president of IAA admitted that all cigarette brands have been registered trademarks, and banning trademarks would result in tobacco industry suing the European Council. Tobacco companies pay billions annually for their trademarks, he added.

Imperial Tobacco, which makes Davidoff, West, R1 and other brands, said plain packaging plan “unnecessary, unreasonable and unjustified.” The company spokesperson declared that the governments which consider approving such measure risk violating many international treaties and laws related to intellectual property protection.

Anne Edwards, director of communication for Philip Morris International stated that currently each government which has considered banning brand logos and colors on cigarette packs has rejected the move because of the lack of proving and intellectual property issues related to it. In addition, such measure would open an easy way for the organized crime engaged in tobacco smuggling and counterfeiting.

Erich Buxbaum as well mentioned the issue related to the counterfeit and contraband tobacco products, stating that 10% of all sales across the EU is in counterfeit items. Illegal cigarettes, he admitted, deprive governments of significant revenues collected from tobacco taxes, which account for almost 50 percent of the retail price. And in addition, illegal products have no safety guarantee or quality standards.

But Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), a U.K. public-health advocacy group, declared thy have these arguments many times before. Martin Dockrell, ASH policy director said that tobacco industry has been using the same arguments when opposing the ban on tobacco advertising, and they would retain their trademarks, but would have no right to use them however they are willing to.

In addition to the introduction of plain packaging ordinance, the European Union is also considering a ban on cigarette vending machines and tobacco displays in points-of-sale.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub.com. All rights reserved.


Related tags: cigarette pack | cigarette package | plain package | europe | flavored cigarette

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