Australia’s policy on plain tobacco packaging was dealt another blow this week as police raided a series of premises involved in the supply of counterfeit cigarettes. According to a Channel Seven News report (below) about a raid on illegal cigarette sales in a Sydney market, the policy has boosted counterfeiting and smuggling by about 40 percent.
Now that cigarette packaging is much easier to copy, seizures of illicit sticks is up from 82 million in 2012 to 200 million last year. To make matters worse, local Police Officer Rodney Smith said that no one could be sure what the counterfeit cigarettes contained, although in laboratory tests they are regularly found to contain chemicals that are not allowed to be added by legitimate manufacturers.
The Aussie media is full of stories gleefully reporting that smoking is up after plain packaging was introduced 18 months ago with around 40 countries backing legal challenges on the grounds of violation of free trade rules or treaties. Despite this weight of evidence, the British government seems committed to pushing forward with plain packs.
As previously reported on Breitbart London, total sales in the first full year since the new packaging came in showed an overall increase of 59 million individual cigarettes across the country.
This represents one of the few incidences of cigarette consumption increasing in a modern Westernised country. The increase of 0.3 percent reverses the downward trend of 15.6 percent in the previous four years.
However, the UK is still likely to push forward with plain packaging to placate the growing anti-smoking industry who push for ever more draconian laws even if the rules are of dubious benefit to public health. The industry comprises charities, campaign groups and NHS bodies all employing large numbers of activists.