SWA fights tobacco packaging proposals

The Scottish Wholesalers’ Association (SWA) has launched what it describes as a ‘robust’ campaign against plain packaging for tobacco products in Scotland.

The campaign, launched last Wednesday (May 2) goes under the banner “Plain Nonsense”. In what is claimed as a first for the wholesale industry, the Edinburgh-based trade association is urging independent retailers – its members’ customers – to register their opposition to plans to standardise tobacco product packaging via a postcard, a mobile app and online at www.scottishwholesale.co.uk/plain-nonsense.

The SWA is focusing on four key points in its opposition to the UK government’s proposals:
• No evidence: that plain packaging will have an impact on smoking rates
• Illicit trade: Plain packaging would be a boost to smugglers and counterfeiters, taking business away from legitimate shops
• Confused retailers: If every product looks the same it will be impossible to serve customers efficiently
• Confused customers: Smokers should be free to choose the products they want without difficulty.

Kate Salmon, executive director of the SWA, explained: “This campaign is about protecting small, Scottish family businesses. If plain packaging on tobacco products is introduced, it will constitute yet another burden on hard-pressed independent retailers who are already drowning in legislation and unnecessary bureaucracy. We have the full support of our members who do not want to see the introduction of any legislation that puts the future livelihoods of independent retailers at risk, particularly when there is no credible evidence that plain packaging will lead to a reduction in the number of people smoking.”

Last month the Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ chief executive James Bielby said proposals for standardised packaging made no sense and would not have any effect on the public’s attitude to smoking.

Wholesalers can register their opposition here and are encouraged to get their retail customers to do likewise.

Postcard submissions to the ‘Plain Nonsense’ campaign close on 1 July, while online registrations can be accepted until July 6.


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