GOVERNMENT INDECISIVE ON PLAIN CIGARETTE PACKAGING – Some feel that the packaging of cigarettes fuels a smokers desire to smoke whilst other feel that the design of such packaging has little or no effect on people’s smoking habits.
The only thing Government can agree on is that smoking is bad for you and that they want to introduce measures in order to help people quit – or do they?
Reports are now circulating that an ‘influential’ group of Tory MPs are demanding that forcing manufacturers to adopt plain cigarette packaging should be dropped.
Their argument is that small businesses could be hurt by the drop in tobacco sales but many think that the powerful tobacco corporations have far more influence on their thinking than the small corner shop owners.
With the Government it really is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t; the consensus is that health care costs are rising due to smoker related illnesses but on the other hand any loss in tax revenue could damage the Government’s balance sheet further.
Has the number of smokers really declined since the introduction of packaging with graphic health warnings? Have we seen a decline in smokers due to the Government continuously piling on more tax; one in order to raise more money and two to make it inordinately expensive to smoke?
It might appear at times, that regardless of how expensive tobacco products become some will continue to smoke; even those who are on welfare.
Yes, welfare is another issue but there are many who receive welfare that continue to smoke; this indicates that either cigarettes are simply too cheap or people are receiving far too much money from the Government at the expense of the taxpayer.
Of the group of Tory MPs contesting the plain cigarette packaging, they fear that small shops are going to be hit hard by the decline in tobacco sales and insist that a sharp rise in tobacco smuggling will occur as a result.
The last thing industry and commercial operations need now, according to the group, is more regulation; in fact much of the red tape needs examining and removing in order to save Government funds and reduce the legislative and expensive burden on small businesses.
The notion of introducing plain cigarette packaging in July seems to have been almost dropped by the Prime Minister David Cameron, and other Government Ministers have now adopted a new stance whereby ‘we need more evidence’ – that of course equates to ‘we need to waste more public money in order to determine if more red tape should be piled on manufacturers’.
There can be no doubt that any move to restrict or help people stop smoking is a good thing and certainly the plain cigarette packaging idea was warmly received by health campaigners; unfortunately they do not have the type of cash reserves needed to successfully lobby sufficient MPs or Ministers to support their cause.
The reality is that some people will always smoke regardless to the type of packaging and the ever rising cost of doing so.
Ask any smoker whether they would like to quit smoking and it’s likely that most would say yes but despite all the gums, patches and other devices available many find it impossible to kick the habit – it is most unlikely that plain cigarette packaging will have any substantial effect on reducing the number of smokers.