The Department of Health (DoH) this afternoon published the results of its consultation into plain or standardised packaging of tobacco products – and it appears the vast majority of respondents were opposed to the idea.
The consultation closed last August, and received 137,711 responses. The vast majority came from pro-smoking lobbyists, retail groups and unions, and were, unsurprisingly, deeply hostile to the implementation of plain packs. Health campaigners and local authorities were in favour.
The biggest concerns highlighted by those opposed included: increase in the illicit trade, longer transaction times at the point of sale, making the category more difficult to manage , increased staff costs and diminished margins.
Responses came from the following groups: 392 members of the public; 37 health or social care professionals; 624 businesses or sole traders; and 254 organisations. Fourteen were wholesalers. All respondents cam from the UK.
The majority (55%) of responses came from people, businesses or organisations with no declared links to the tobacco industry. Around a third of respondents, however, declared their links to the tobacco industry, and 15% did not give an answer to this question.
MPs are due to vote on standardised packaging within the next few week; it is not known what, if any, effect this findings report will have on the vote, although it is claimed that a “substantial number” of MPs are expected to vote agains plain packs.
The full report can be downloaded here