On 24th February 2015 critics of standardised packaging of tobacco came together for An Evening of Plain Speaking on Plain Packaging at the Institute of Directors in London. The well-attended event featured members of the public and representatives of some of Britain’s leading thinks and campaign groups including Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs), John O’Connell (TaxPayers Alliance), Dr Madsen Pirie (Adam Smith Institute), Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas), Angela Harbutt (Liberal Vision), Rory Broomfield (The Freedom Association), Emily Barley (Conservatives for Liberty), Chris Snowdon (IEA Lifestyle Economics Unit) and Simon Clark (Forest).
Describing the policy as “risible and utterly ridiculous”, Littlewood said:
“Look at the issues that are facing our country and the world at the moment. A budget deficit this year of nearly £100bn; a fairly modest economic recovery we still don’t know is sustainable or not; and international instability in the Eurozone, in Ukraine, and further afield in Syria. With this sort of backdrop what kind of final act would you expect this government to take? That’s right, the final act of this parliament before the general election, with that background of problems, is probably going to be to regulate the colour schemes that British adults are allowed to look at. That is a pretty feeble grasp of priorities.”
According to Chris Snowdon the issue was not about tobacco but about “packaging and commercial freedom and the limits of government action”. “The most troubling aspect of plain packaging,” added Claire Fox, “is what it tells us about the authorities’ view of us. Stop treating teenagers like they’re idiots, and stop treating adults like they’re teenagers.”
Watch a film of the event here.
If you’re opposed to plain packaging it’s not too late to make your opinions known.
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