Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has criticized the UK government for abandoning plans to follow the example of Australia and introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.
“I think it really shows the continued efforts of Big Tobacco to prevent plain packaging,” she told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to fire his Australian election strategist, former Liberal Party federal director Lynton Crosby, for its association with tobacco giant Philip Morris.
“It’s very clear Lynton Crosby was a key adviser in the movement to lose plain packaging in the UK,” Ms Plibersek said.
British newspapers are reporting that Mr. Corby’s a lobbying firm that works for Philip Morris.
Ms Plibersek said the data was not available on whether the introduction of plain packaging in
Australia had hit cigarette sales.
But she is sure that it is working.
As Australian laws came into force in December of last year, the tobacco companies have started to challenge with the World Trade Organization.
British American Tobacco Australia senior manager of corporate communications Scott McIntyre said in the beginning the figures show the legal tobacco market remained unchanged with simple packages that have been introduced in Australia.
“There has been no initial impact on legal sales of tobacco in the first six months because of a simple package as cigarette smokers buying more as they were before,” he mentioned in a statement.
He said that the first few days and to assess the situation properly, you need more time to see if there were any trends.