Product display bans

Governments in a number of countries have sought to ban outright the display of tobacco products at point of sale.

The predominant objectives of these measures 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 and display is both a trigger for smoking initiation and an obstacle to cessation. [See Attractiveness. Link out of date]

Product displays – whether for tobacco or any other product category – are a platform for genuine competition between companies. Product displays enable consumers to identify, obtain information about and choose products, easily and without confusion.

JTI fundamentally disagrees with any proposal to prohibit the display of tobacco products at point of sale.

Tobacco is a legal product. Manufacturers compete among themselves for their share of the legal tobacco market. Adults who choose to smoke are entitled to be treated fairly, and all consumers have the right to product choice.

Further, proposals for product display bans are not based on, or consistent with, a credible and scientifically rigorous understanding of the behavior of smokers. Product display bans will not lead to a change in actual smoking behavior, either by reducing smoking initiation by minors or by increased quitting among minors or adults. See Access to Tobacco Products, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation; Expert Reports.

There is no reliable evidence that product display bans will achieve these public health objectives. However, product display bans would have serious, negative consequences.

In markets where such measures have been implemented, the evidence clearly shows that a product display ban freezes and damages competition. Product innovation is significantly reduced and the introduction of new products is hampered. Customer choice and brand switching are reduced. Confusion is created as consumers attempt to locate their usual brand or consider alternative brands. See Access to Tobacco Products, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation; Expert Reports.

Finally, product display bans infringe JTI's fundamental rights as a commercial entity, including the right to commercial free speech and freedom to trade – without justification.

JTI has proposed less restrictive, more targeted and proportionate alternative solutions which would avoid the unnecessary, unjustified and disproportionate introduction of product display bans. See Alternative Regulatory Solutions, JTI Full Response to the EU Consultation.

Last updated on 2012-03-26