Smokers’ lobby group Forest claims the Australian court ruling in favour of plain tobacco packaging will not affect its campaign against similar legislation in the UK.
Forest, which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, says plain packaging is an attempt to “denormalise” a legal product and “stigmatise” consumers.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “The decision in Australia won’t make any difference to our campaign.
“We support all reasonable attempts to discourage children from smoking, but putting cigarettes in plain packs is pointless.
“There is no evidence to support the claim that plain packaging will prevent children from taking up smoking.
“The proposal is based on the fallacy that children find so-called ‘glitzy’ packaging appealing and with cigarettes in dull, drab packs fewer children or young people will be tempted to start smoking.
“Putting cigarettes in standardised packs is tantamount to state-sponsored bullying. It is yet another attempt to denormalise a legal product and stigmatise those who consume it.”
Clark urged the UK government not to follow the example set by Australia. “Over 235,000 people have signed the Hands Off Our Packs petition against plain packaging,” he said.
“There is also opposition from retailers and shop workers, plus serving and retired police officers who are concerned about counterfeiting and the sale of illicit tobacco which plain packaging is likely to encourage.”