The three-month public consultation period pertaining to the introduction of plain packaging legislation, which would remove all colours and branding, and in fact only allow the brand name plus health warnings, toxic constituents and tax-paid stamps, is now officially over.
Australia was the first country to adopt plain packaging legislation four years ago, and France and the UK are scheduled to do so next year. The efficacy of such an expensive and invasive process is still not concrete, and there is fear by at least one tobacco company, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (RBH), that such a move would also lead to more counterfeiting of tobacco products in Canada, already a serious problem. And needless to say, the legislation will also create even more confusion and distraction at the variety store counter.
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI), of which RBH is a wholly owned subsidiary, has invested more than $2 billion at its main research center in Switzerland, working with many of the world’s top scientists, to create new technology that significantly reduces exposure to harmful chemicals or potentially harmful chemicals (HPHCs) commonly referred to as carcinogens. Its iQOS product, the company’s first in the heat-not-burn category, has been launched in several countries including Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and Russia. The company will be applying for FDA approval in the United States by the end of 2016, and then hopefully introduce the product in Canada thereafter.
The company believes that RRPs are a step in the right direction in removing the harmful effects of tobacco consumption from smokers and those around them. RBH says that these products, along with continuing efforts such as enforcement of minimum age laws, tackling illegal contraband, and funding educational campaigns will continue to reduce harm. It states that another wave of packaging legislation may do little to reduce consumption and a lot to increase confusion, misinformation and contraband. – CINEWS