Industry opposition: claims that smoking hasn’t reduced post plain packaging in Australia

Neither the Government nor health groups claimed that plain packaging legislation would immediately or in a direct way reduce the prevalence of smoking. Nevertheless tobacco companies have released reports claiming that there has been no decline in the prevalence of smoking among either adults or children, and no decline in sales.

No change of prevalence adults

Industry-funded studies

Kaul A and Wolf M. The (possible) effect of plain packaging on smoking prevalence in Australia: a trend analysis. 165.Zurich, Switzerland: University of Zurich, 2014. Available from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2460704

London Economics, An analysis of smoking prevalence in Australia: final, LE Publication (Working Papers and Economic Briefs) 2013, London Economics commissioned by Philip Morris International: London. Available from http://londoneconomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/London-Economics-Report-Australian-Prevalence-Final-Report-25-11-2013.pdf

London Economics, An analysis of smoking prevalence in Australia: press release, LE Publication (Working Papers and Economic Briefs) 2013, London Economics commissioned by Philip Morris International: London. Available from http://londoneconomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/London-Economics-Press-Release-Australian-Prevalence-25-11-2013.pdf

CCV critiques

Cancer Council Victoria, Comments of the Philip Morris funded London Economics report "An analysis of smoking prevalence in Australia: final",  2013, Cancer Council Victoria: Melbourne. Currently available from http://www.cancervic.org.au/downloads/tobacco_control/2013/Critique_by_Cancer_Council_Victoria_on_report_by_PMI_26.11.13.pdf

Other critiques

Laverty AA, Watt HC, Arnott D, and Hopkinson NS. Standardised packaging and tobacco-industry-funded research. Lancet, 2014; 383(9926):1384. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24726722 

Diethelm P and McKee M. Tobacco industry-funded research on standardised packaging: there are none so blind as those who will not see! Tobacco Control, 2014. Available from: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2014/07/07/tobaccocontrol-2014-051734.short  

The Guardian data blog, explanation of apparent increase in prevalence of smoking in NSW http://www.theguardian.com/society/datablog/2014/jun/06/is-smoking-increasing-in-australia

Laverty AA, Diethelm P, Hopkinson NS, Watt HC, and McKee M. Use and abuse of statistics in tobacco industry-funded research on standardised packaging. Tob Control, 2015. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25650186

Release on data from 2013 NDSHS

On 17 July 2014, the Australian Government released results of the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. The survey revealed a >15% drop in daily smoking among Australians 14 years and over.

No change of prevalence young people

Industry-funded studies

Philip Morris International, Researchers find no evidence plain packaging ‘experiment’ has cut smoking,  2014. Available from http://www.pmi.com/eng/media_center/pages/latest_news.aspx
Kaul, A. and Wolf, M., The (possible) effect of plain packaging on the smoking prevalence of minors in Australia: a trend analysis, Working paper 149 2014, University of Zurich: Zurich. Available from http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php?id=828

CCV critiques

Cancer Council Victoria, Critique on Kaul and Wolf,  2014, Cancer Council Victoria: Melbourne. Currently available from http://www.cancervic.org.au/downloads/tobacco_control/2013/Cancer_Council_Victoria_comments_on_Kaul_Wolf.pdf

Other information about Kaul and Wolf

http://tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Ashok_Kaul

http://tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Michael_Wolf

 

Industry comments on Government data 

British American Tobacco Australia. Youth smoking rates soar two years post plain packs. Sydney: BATA, 27 Nov 2014. Available from: http://www.bata.com.au/group/sites/BAT_7WYKG8.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9FC38M?opendocument&SKN=1

Note comment in response from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare...”...the statistics body's head of tobacco and other drugs unit, Amber Jefferson, said the report clearly stated the sample size was too small for a conclusion of a spike in uptake. ``The results remain stable. There might appear to be a percentage point increase, but it's not statistically significant,'' she said
Hawthorne M and Desloires V. Tobacco giants, retailers join forces in new attack on plain-packaging laws. The Age, 2014; 28 Nov. Available from: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/big-tobacco-distributes-report-bullying-plain-packaging-laws-20141127-11v7ov.html

Philip Morris International. Data from Australian states revealed.  2015. Last update: 22 January 2015; Viewed Available from: http://justthefacts.pmi.com/data-from-australian-states-revealed . A critique of this analysis can be found here.    

 

No reduction in sales

Industry-funded studies

Ernst & Young LLP. Historical trends in Australian tobacco consumption: A case study. Prepared for British American Tobacco. London: EY, 2014. Available from: http://www.bata.com.au/group/sites/BAT_7WYKG8.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9FC38M?opendocument&SKN=1

See also

Davidson S and De Silva A. The plain truth about plain packaging: an econometric analysis of the Australian 2011 Tobacco Plain Packaging Act. Agenda; A journal of policy analysis and reform, 2014; 21(1). Available from: http://press.anu.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The-Plain-Truth-about-Plain-Packaging-An-Econometric-Analysis-of-the-Australian-2011-Tobacco-Plain-Packaging-Act.pdf 

Davidson S and deSilva A. Davidson, S and de Silva, A. Stubbing out the evidence of tobacco plain packaging efficacy: An analysis of the Australian National Tobacco Plain Packaging Survey. 17 May  2016. Social Science Research Network. Available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2780938

Cancer Council critique 

Cancer Council Victoria.  Commentary on Davidson & de Silva Working Paper 2016. Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, June 2016. Available here

Industry statements

Philip Morris International, Researchers find no evidence plain packaging ‘experiment’ has cut smoking,  2014. Available from http://www.pmi.com/eng/media_center/pages/latest_news.aspx
British American Tobacco Australia. Industry volumes up, illegal tobacco up, while the number of people quitting halves: media release Apr 4. BATA, 2014. Available from: http://www.bata.com.au/group/sites/BAT_7WYKG8.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9FC38M?opendocument&SKN=1.

British American Tobacco Australia. Report questions effectiveness of plain packaging. Sydney: BATA, 28 Nov 2014. Available from: http://www.bata.com.au/group/sites/bat_7wykg8.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9FC38M/$FILE/medMD9R99TW.pdf?openelement  

Cancer Council critique

Industry claims on sales

Department of Health statement

The Australian Government on 18th June 2014 released advice from the Commonwealth Treasury indicating that excise and customs clearances on tobacco products declined by 3.4%
in the 2013 calendar year relative to 2012—see http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-kff   

Other critiques

The Guardian Data blog at http://www.theguardian.com/society/datablog/2014/jun/06/is-smoking-increasing-in-australia

Plain packaging isn’t like a tax increase, that suddenly, immediately bites into the available spending money of every single person in the smoking population. Apart from tax increases, reductions in prevalence or consumption can very rarely be attributed to any single policy --- see Chapman, S., Unravelling gossamer with boxing gloves: problems in explaining the decline in smoking. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 1993. 307(6901): p. 429–32. Available from: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1678429&blobtype=pdf  

 

Independent critiques of industry submissions to the UK Government consultation on plain packaging

Evans-Reeves KA, Hatchard JL, and Gilmore AB. 'It will harm business and increase illicit trade': An evaluation of the relevance, quality and transparency of evidence submitted by transnational tobacco companies to the UK consultation on standardised packaging 2012. Tobacco Control, 2014. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25472733

Hatchard JL, Fooks GJ, Evans-Reeves KA, Ulucanlar S, and Gilmore AB. A critical evaluation of the volume, relevance and quality of evidence submitted by the tobacco industry to oppose standardised packaging of tobacco products. BMJ Open, 2014; 4(2):e003757. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24523419

Ulucanlar S, Fooks GJ, Hatchard JL, and Gilmore AB. Representation and misrepresentation of scientific evidence in contemporary tobacco regulation: A review of tobacco industry submissions to the UK government consultation on standardised packaging. PLoS Med, 2014; 11(3):e1001629. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24667150