The largest tobacco manufacturer British American Tobacco declared that FDA’s plain packaging plan is practically impossible and it will lead to a national tobacco deficit.
David Crow, representative for BAT’s Australian subsidiary stated that the gap would be filled by Indonesian and Chinese makers, who would swamp the market with counterfeit tobacco products.
But the anti-smoking lobby stated that the tobacco industry had had two year’s notification and was bluffing.
As for the risk of tobacco deficit, Quit spokeswoman Fiona Sharkie stated: You won’t hear me saying I am sorry about that.
The law adopted last months tries to compel cigarette manufacturers to use only plain packages starting from May 20 next year. The deadline for all retailers is six weeks, after this date cigarette shops won’t have the right to sell branded cigarettes.
The legislation is unfair and won’t lead to any results. I think that tobacco industry needs at least 12 months for producing changes and about 6 months to sell remaining stock of branded tobacco products before it will be ready to implement the plain packaging. BAT would be out of stock on July 1. I suppose that Philip Morris will be in the same situation, Mr. Crow said.
British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris provide 80% of the Australian tobacco market.
Mr. Crow declared that his company would not infringe the law in order to supply the market.
Tobacco industry becomes out of stock. The only supplier of the tobacco industry is a group of guys out of Indonesia and out of China who at present provide 16% and who will flood the market with cheap smoke, Mr. Crow stated referring to illicit cigarette sales.
One of the unintentional consequences would be a significant increase in illegal trade.
The national tobacco control program, Quit has assaulted the claim. Mrs. Sharkie declared that statement that plain packaging could not be changed in less than 18 months was one more “invention”.
Apparently they seem to be able to do it when it is more beneficial to their sales purposes, she said.
She also criticized the government’s declaration made in April last year, which allowed tobacco industry ‘over two years’ notice.
Mr. Crow also took advantage of Canberra hearing in order to plead for the government “to talk on this issue more seriously”.
I continue to ask, to write letters asking for half an hour before this committee to have a talk, but I do not receive any response, and it is getting frustrating because it’s a simple issue we should get on to.