Big tobacco companies say they’ll hit back at the Federal Government’s plan to introduce plain packaging.

They say the government’s turning a blind eye to the real problem, illegal tobacco.

Andrew Cook reports.


British American Tobacco has labelled the government’s introduction of plain packaging a farce.

They say it won’t do anything to discourage smokers and the government should be focusing on shutting down illegal tobacco operations instead.

David Crow, British American Tobacco CEO: “The real driver will be illegal tobacco. Illegal tobacco is smuggled tobacco, it’s counterfeit tobacco.”

It’s estimated at least one in five cigarettes is made using illegal tobacco, costing the government more than $1 billion in lost excise.

The government has already banned a number of advertising opportunities for tobacco companies who are now threatening to lower their prices if the latest legislation is passed.

David Crow, British American Tobacco CEO: “We are very competitive and we will obviously focus on pricing given it’s the only thing really left to focus and differentiate brands.”

Despite the government’s best intentions, not everyone thinks the plain packaging will work.

Vox Pop 1: “I don’t think it’ll deter from somebody deciding whether they’re going to smoke or not.”

Vox Pop 2: “I wouldn’t even care where I got them from or what they look like I just want to get them when I can.”

Vox Pop 3: “I don’t know if it will work or not but I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

The government will roll out its plain packaging initiative from July 1 next year.

Andrew Cook, QUT news.