One of Forest's arguments against plain packaging is that it's unnecessary because the EU's revised Tobacco Products Directive will do a very similar job.
From 2016, when the revised TPD is implemented, the health warning will cover 65 per cent of the front and back of the pack, leaving very little room for branding.
The relevant paragraph in our campaign letter, which thousands of you have been sending to the PM, reads:
Before pressing ahead with legislation I urge you to wait until government has studied the impact of the tobacco display ban, which will not be fully implemented until 2015, and the introduction of larger health warnings which are being introduced in 2016 as part of the EU's revised Tobacco Products Directive.
This morning the Regulatory Policy Committee published an analysis of the Government's impact assessment on plain packaging.
There are several references to the TPD including this admission:
As noted above, the preferred option is to go beyond the European Tobacco Products Directive and require standardised tobacco packaging of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco. By going beyond minimum EU requirements, the Department is gold-plating the measure.
Think about that for a moment.
Our Conservative-led Coalition is currently "minded" to introduce a policy that not only goes "beyond minimum EU requirements" but is "gold-plating the measure".
You can download the RPC analysis here.
You'll see that the RPC has given the impact assessment on plain packaging an amber rating.
Green rated IAs are considered ‘fit for purpose’. Red IAs are ‘not fit for purpose.
Amber IAs are ‘fit for purpose’ on condition that changes are made to the IA. In this instance, for example, the RPC wants a "fuller description of EU Tobacco Products Directive … This would allow readers to understand better where the proposed measure goes beyond the Directive".
Strange, isn't it, that this wasn't made clear in the original IA? Perhaps the Government didn't want people to know.
Now you do. Spread the word.