No to plain packs

I WRITE in response to your article, “Cigarettes and tobacco to be sold in plain packs” (28 March).

I have worked in the packaging industry for more than 40 years and can assure you that the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products would have unintended consequences.

The production of packaging is a complex process and involves not only the common 20s carton but a range of other products all produced to exacting standards.

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The complexity and sophistication involved in their production ensure the products are difficult to reproduce by counterfeiters and suppliers to the illicit trade. Any move to a plain packaging specification will benefit the counterfeiter and producer of fake products.

Although the Scottish Government’s position on smoking is well known, it, along with other proponents of the introduction of plain packaging, cannot produce evidence that it is linked to smoking trends.

Even in Australia, where plain packaging became mandatory last year, smoking levels remain consistent, according to reports.

Instead the Scottish Government should concentrate on the education of young people, which is fully supported by the packaging industry.

Results from Germany have indicated better education, 
information and cultural awareness deter young people and this is what should be adopted in Scotland rather than 
increased regulation where there is no evidence that it will work. The position of the Scottish Government is to await a decision by the UK Government. The UK has yet to make that decision and is currently reviewing the 800,000 replies from the public and industry to its consultation; 500,000 responses were against plain packaging for tobacco products and I hope these voices will be listened to.

Mike Ridgway

Ghyll Wood

Ilkley, West Yorkshire