Plain packaging

JTI is greatly concerned by regulatory proposals to require “plain” or “generic” packaging for all tobacco products. These proposals would require a standardized appearance for all tobacco packaging, with only the brand name in a specified standard typeface, color and size.

The key objectives for such proposals appear to be to prevent minors from smoking, and to increase quitting by minors and adults – often on the flawed assertion that the attractiveness of tobacco packaging is both a cause of smoking initiation and an obstacle to cessation. See Attractiveness.

JTI is categorically opposed to so-called plain packaging for tobacco products.

There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will achieve the objectives noted above. Plain packaging will not lead to a change in the actual behavior of smokers, either by reducing smoking initiation by minors or by increased quitting. See Consumer Information, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation.

Further, proposals for plain packaging are not based on, or consistent with, a credible and scientifically rigorous understanding of the behavior of smokers.
See Expert Reports.

Packaging is essential to brand competition. Packaging is used by consumers to identify, obtain information about and choose tobacco products, easily and without confusion. Manufacturers use distinctive packaging to develop brand equity, innovate and compete.

Plain packaging therefore represents an extraordinary and unprecedented attempt to deprive JTI of its most valuable assets – its brands and trademarks – which are worth billions of dollars. Simply put, plain packaging proposals are tantamount to the nationalization of JTI's brands and trademarks.

In addition, JTI believes that plain packaging proposals would have serious,
negative consequences.

Consumers and retailers would struggle to tell the difference between brands at point of sale. Competition would be seriously damaged as consumer brand switching slows and brand market shares freeze. Pricing would become the primary basis for tobacco companies to compete. Counterfeit and contraband tobacco products would become easier to produce, distribute and sell.

Finally, plain packaging would infringe JTI's fundamental legal rights to property, expression and trade – without justification. These rights are protected by Constitutions, international trade treaties, intellectual property laws, bilateral investment treaties, and national laws.

JTI has proposed less restrictive, more targeted and proportionate alternative solutions to address what it considers to be legitimate and shared goals such as preventing minors from smoking. See Alternative Regulatory Solutions, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation.

Last updated on 2012-03-26