New opinion research on plain packaging

[title here] [long description here]
35% of all males like donuts.

of South Africans agree that we have enough laws already on tobacco products– the government needs to stop regulating and start educating if it wants to reduce smoking.

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75% of all males like donuts.

of South Africans think South Africa should not be like the UK, France and Ireland and become an early adopter of Australia’s plain packaging policy - instead, they think it should follow the example of Germany and Sweden and not consider introducing plain packaging until there is greater evidence of the policy’s effectiveness to reduce smoking.

[title here] [long description here]
75% of all males like donuts.

of South Africans think it is important that an independent assessment be taken of the proof of effectiveness of the policy in other countries before the government is allowed to pass legislation on plain packaging for cigarettes.

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rise in illicit tobacco sales occurred in Australia due to similar laws


jobs at risk

R0 B

BILLION lost tax revenue since 2010 due to illicit trade


days potential jail time for smoking


of small businesses' revenue is at risk




This is the number of people who signed our petition against the
new Tobacco Bill. The petition was submitted to government on 8 August 2018

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The new Tobacco Bill aims to reduce the uptake of smoking, particularly in the youth. However, the regulations being introduced in this Bill barely address that objective and are largely unsupported by any evidence. The jail time, the minister's excessive control, the rise of the illicit cigarette trade and a number of unintended consequences are just some of the major issues present in the new Bill.

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Mar 2019 (Malaysia) - As SE Asian countries consider plain packaging for cigarettes, Australia reviews its failing ‘quit or die’ smoking policy.


Mar 2019 (ZA) - Plain packaging for cigarettes is a bad idea


Feb 2019 (US) - Banning Brands: A Menace To The Global Economy


Feb 2019 (US) - This UN Tobacco Policy Is Backfiring Around the World.


Dec 2018 (Aus) - Smoking rates stall as Australia loses the battle against smoking.


July 2018 (Aus) - Plain packaging a graphic study in failure.


June 2018 (UK) - Plain packaging is plain stupid.


May 2018 (CA) - No good will come from the plain packaging of cigarettes.


May 2018 (UK) - Campaigners brand plain packaging on cigarettes a failure as stats show smoking is on the UP.


Mar 2018 (US) - Unbranding Economic Freedom: The WHO And The Case Of Plain Packaging.


Mar 2018 (Aus) - Plain packaging: fraud, farce and failure.


Jan 2018 (EU) - Australia proves that EU tobacco plain packaging will fail.


Dec 2017 (US) - Up in Smoke: 5 Years of Plain Packaging Failure.


Dec 2017 (Aus) - Plain tobacco packaging ‘fails’ in Australia.


Dec 2017 (Aus) - Want to fight human trafficking? Ditch plain packaging.


Nov 2017 (Aus) - Plain Packaging Failure - Five Years Later (Sinclair Davidson).


Nov 2017 (UK) - First fake plain packs discovered, rogue retailers making "small fortune".


Aug 2017 (Aus) - The great plain packaging swindle.


June 2017 (Aus) - The evidence is in: plain packaging of cigarettes just doesn't work.


May 2017 (FR) - Smoking on the rise in France despite rollout of plain packaging.


Feb 2017 (ZA) - Harm reduction for tobacco addicts – plain packaging doesn’t work.


Jan 2017 (UK) - Plain packaging and graphic warnings will ‘crush’ craft drinks, says gin master.


May 2016 (SG) - Going up in smoke: Terrorist financing and contraband cigarettes.


The new Tobacco Bill is imposing a number of highly restrictive regulations that threaten your your freedom of choice and this could just be the beginning. This could be a single step in a long race toward becoming a nanny state, with sugar and alcohol legislation intensifying as well. Find out more about the key points of the Bill below and join the conversation!

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Plain packaging is proposed in the Bill aas an effort to curb the rise of smoking, however, when this was introduced in Australia the gradual reduction in smoking numbers actually stopped for the first time in 20 years. This, in combination with the fact that there was a 30% increase in illicit tobacco trade following this legislation, suggests that the plain packaging will not only be ineffective but have some unintended but dangerous consequences. In fact, the South African government has lost an estimated R27 Billion to illicit trade since 2010, according to a 2018 study. Not only that, but a recent study found that consumers themselves believe that plain packaging doesn’t work with 65% of respondents stating that standardized plain packaging is “unnecessary” and a “waste of government resources.” Additionally, 81% of respondents noted that “branding on products matters.”

It doesn't affect consumer behaviour:
Plain packaging is simply not effective in changing smoking behaviour. This is because such regulation wrongly assumes that packaging causes people to smoke. Branded packaging of tobacco products, like any other packaging of consumer goods, only enables existing adult smokers to identify and differentiate brands quickly. In addition, the use of colours and ‘stylised elements' of branding simply make it more difficult to produce counterfeit product packaging.

It doesn't reduce smoking rates:
More than 5 years after the implementation of plain packaging in Australia, government data and evidence shows that plain packaging has not reduced smoking rates, volume of tobacco consumed, or youth smoking. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare itself states that “While smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend, for the first time in over two decades, the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (2013 to 2016). This demonstrates that plain packaging has failed to meet its objective to reduce youth smoking in Australia.In fact, the UK saw an increase in smoking rates following similar legislation. The latest analysis published by Europe Economics confirms that so far, the implementation of plain packaging requirements hasn’t shown any impact on tobacco consumption (number of tobacco products sold to consumers) in both France and the UK and no impact on smoking rates (number of people smoking) in the UK.

It will exacerbate the illicit cigarette trade:
Whereas illegal trade in tobacco products in Australia prior to plain packaging was low, the level of illicit tobacco consumption has grown by 30%, - with 15% of tobacco sales now illegal – plain packaging was introduced over seven years ago. Even a recent report produced by KPMG demonstrates that the level of illegal tobacco consumption has grown significantly since plain packaging was introduced. This will reduce revenue for the legal tobacco industry, potentially resulting in massive job losses across the actual industry and related industries like retailers, SMEs and bars and taverns.

It will be only be worse in South Africa.

  • It's easier for crime syndicates to copy standardised packaging and more difficult for authorities to control.
  • We have multi-country, porous borders, unlike the "island" of Australia.
  • Tobacco products below the minimum tax due have soared from 33.1% in June to 41.8% in the informal retail sector. This means that SARS is now losing at least R8 billion annually; according to the November 2018 IPSOS research.
  • Unemployment is already a major issue that will only be exacerbated by the Bill

There is a better way to reduce youth smoking:
Preventing and reducing the incidence of underage smoking could be achieved through less restrictive and more proportionate measures, such as:

  • Focused public information campaigns; including school-based education campaigns;
  • Penalising proxy purchasing by minors for adults;
  • Penalising purchasing by minors
  • Negative licensing, whereby a retailer who is repeatedly caught selling to minors has their licence to sell tobacco revoked; and
  • targeted enforcement of existing regulations.


Jail time and public smoking

We all know certain smoking regulations are necessary, especially in shared public spaces. However, the new legislation will take it to the extreme. Not only will smoking be banned at a prescribed distance from any entrance, ventilation point or enclosed area but the definition of ‘public space’ is far too broad. The bill defines any covered space as "indoor" regardless of the fact that these areas will have no problem with adequate ventilation and gives the minister of health the power to simply ban all outdoor smoking areas as well.

If this Bill is passed you could face 3 months jail time if you don't follow these regulations. This essentially means adults are being treated almost like underage citizens who cannot be trusted to make their own lifestyle choices, effectively humiliating adult smokers unnecessarily. It’s unclear as to why the government sees this is as necessary as the smoking laws currently provide for public smoking regulations which allow rights for both smokers and non-smokers alike.

You won’t be able to smoke in your own car even when you’re alone as it may now be considered a workplace if you use it for business and therefore classified by the Bill as a "public space". The same goes for your own home, it will be illegal for you to smoke in your own home if you employ any kind of staff on your premises, this includes domestic workers, tutors and garden services. Additionally, If you own a property and you fail to provide the proper no smoking signs and public announcements you could be jailed for up to a year. This aspect of the bill goes far beyond just protecting non-smokers.


Vaporizers, e-cigarettes and the flavour ban

One of the most significant changes to the existing tobacco legislation is the inclusion of vaporizers and e-cigarettes as tobacco dispense devices, which means they will be subject to the same extreme restrictions as regular tobacco products. This is a problem as there is little actual evidence to back up the idea that these devices are as dangerous as regular cigarettes.

This goes hand in hand with the proposed ban on flavoured tobacco products, which will mean a large number of your favourite vape flavours as well as cigarette products will disappear. This impacts your variety, convenience and of course, personal lifestyle choices as an adult but is arguably the one aspect of the Bill that addresses its intended objective.


Display and vending machine ban

There is no evidence this will work
No credible evidence has been put forward by the Department of Health to demonstrate retail display bans are effective in reducing smoking rates and has in fact ignored evidence from countries which have implemented display bans, that demonstrates little to no impact on smoking rates*, notably in Canada. The display ban assumes people are encouraged to buy cigarettes just by seeing them which does nothing to address the real factors driving smoking behaviour, like peer pressure, especially in the youth. In fact, its proven failure in both the UK and France, with the French Minister for Health, Agnès Buzyn, admitting that this ban on branding doesn’t stop people from smoking and that she was against it from the outset.

It will negatively impact small business
Business and industry in general may suffer but Small to Medium Enterprises such as tobacconists, ‘Mom and Pop' stores, cafés and small supermarkets and informal traders will take the hardest hit. It's estimated by a recent IPSOS study that, on average, 30% of the revenue generated by these small stores is from tobacco sales alone and this could just be the beginning for their decline in revenue. It will also affect the choices of the consumers that visit these stores as the ability to switch brands will be impaired, as without product display, consumers will request and purchase only brands familiar to them.

It will lead to growth of illicit tobacco
The display ban in combination with plain packaging, and the consumer desires for lower prices price will not only create a demand for illicit cigarettes but practically encourage it. The differences between legal and illegal tobacco will become harder to identify, resulting in higher consumption of unregulated products which in turn puts the consumer at risk. It will be harder for enforcement authorities to determine when and where illicit products are sold. This will undermine public policy objectives as those selling illegal products do not care about complying with the law, which means tobacco content regulations won't be adhered to and consumers could unknowingly be supporting illegal business.



"We believe in tobacco regulation, however we also believe in regulation based on evidence."

industry 1

On Regulation

industry 2

On Plain Packaging

industry 3

On Display Bans

industry 4

On Illicit Trade

industry 5

On The Slippery Slope


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