Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New National Report Reveals False Claims of Tobacco Companies.

Wigan Evening Post 18th June 2011
A new report published this month reveals that UK based tobacco manufacturers knowingly misled stakeholders, highlighting the false claims and contradictions that underly the Tobacco Industry’s attempts to stop tobacco legislation, which is aimed at reducing the 80,000 deaths every year in the UK caused by smoking.

The report, entitled ‘Tobacconomics’, cites that tobacco manufacturers claimed that banning the display of cigarettes in Ireland led to half a billion pounds loss in government revenue, when in fact the Irish Government stated that it increased by £50m.

The report goes on to explain in detail how the tobacco industry uses pseudo economic arguments to divert attention away from the health consequences of smoking and protect its revenues, commonly repeating the same three themes: standing up for small businesses and defending workers jobs, raising the alarm about counterfeit and smuggled tobacco and denying the effectiveness of tobacco control measures.

We are constantly being told that display bans and plain packaging laws would be the end and cause small retailers to close. But although tobacco sales account for up to a third of a small retailer’s turnover, the profit a shopkeeper makes on a packet of cigarettes is very small – less than 5% on a packet of 20.

It is this kind of smokescreen from the Tobacco Industry that we have to see through to get to the truth.

This report clears up the myths that the Tobacco Industry so readily peddle in their attempts to prevent or water down important legislation designed to save lives. The economic arguments, especially around the impact of display and plain packaging, do not hold water yet the Industry are very slick at presenting these as fact.

I welcome this report and its expose of false claims by the Tobacco Industry and its front organisations – all of whom have a vested interest in keeping people smoking. The North West carries a considerable  burden of ill health and death from tobacco use; the public in the North West need to know the truth.

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