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Tobacco Giants Make False Claims to Delay Plain Packaging

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A U.K.-based public health research body recently alleged that four tobacco biggies - British American Tobacco PLC, Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, Japan Tobacco International Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc.PM - submitted flawed or incomplete evidence regarding the standardized cigarette packaging.

The University of Bath's Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) alleged that these companies have misused the 'better regulation' system to "delay and derail" the plain-packaging law.

The tobacco companies were allowed to submit consultations on plain packaging in 2012. In the consultations, these companies claimed that standardized packaging would not have any discernible health benefits. Instead, it will boost illicit tobacco trade and negatively impact the economy.

TCRG's research, based on evidence cited by tobacco companies, demonstrates that these arguments were unfounded and the critiques of peer-reviewed public health evidence were highly misleading.

In Mar 2015, the European Commission legalized plain packaging for cigarettes after the House of Lords - the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom - as well as House of Commons approved the motion. Cigarette packs will now include both pictorial and text warnings to dissuade smokers.

Moreover, the warning will cover more than 65% of both the front and back covers. Also, colors like dull brown on the outside and white inside will be used for retail packaging. The individual cigarettes will be in plain white with a cork effect or white tip, bearing the brand name printed in small text.

The research body stated that the false claims made by the tobacco majors delayed the policy-making process by more than three years, during which time smoking among minors increased considerably.

Governments around the world are imposing restrictions on tobacco makers which, in turn, are lowering cigarette consumption and affecting margins. These rules will pose a significant problem for companies like Philip Morris International Inc., Reynolds American Inc. RAI , Vector Group Ltd. VGR and Altria Group Inc. MO that are already reeling from the effect of worldwide anti-smoking campaigns.

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REYNOLDS AMER (RAI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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