Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has today launched a campaign to share its views on the potential consequences of enforcing standardised cigarette packs in the UK.

“There is a debate shaping up around standardised packaging and we are an important part of it”, noted Martin Southgate, managing director UK for JTI.

“We are seriously concerned about the way the consultation has been managed from the start. For JTI, a genuine and transparent process paying attention to the consequences of such a proposal, notably on illicit trade, is urgently needed.

“I fail to see how making illicit trade easier can be seen as progress on reducing smoking,” explained Southgate.

The campaign kicks off this weekend in UK wide publications – targeting government and business decision makers. JTI highlights the distinct lack of evidence supporting the Department of Health’s consultation on plain packaging, which ignores the Government’s own Better Regulation rules. Further on, the focus will be on the various consequences of standardised packs from both a consumer and business perspective. The company will invest £2m in this initiative over the coming months.

The campaign will underline misconceived and outdated notions surrounding smoking and discuss better ways and solutions which deserve to be considered. Plain packaging is a concern that goes far beyond tobacco. Thousands of business partners, wholesalers, retailers as well as other FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies are increasingly under attack with unnecessary red tape.

“If we succeed in propelling intelligent arguments to the surface – from us or others – we will all benefit from it. Hopefully the Department of Health will re-think its approach and common sense will prevail”, added Southgate.