“The number of Australian smokers has only increased since the introduction of the previous government’s plain packaging laws,” Scott McIntyre, a spokesperson for British American Tobacco has told The (un) Australian in an exclusive story.
Citing a study by the independent market analyst InfoView, who are funded by independent tobacco lobby British American Tobacco, Mr McIntyre said that while the increase in smokers is not “incredibly significant”, it does reverse a four year trend of sales decreases that “the Australian Tobacco Industry supported”.
“People say, ‘why are you trying to argue that plain packaging increases sales? You’re a tobacco company, shouldn’t you be in favour of that?’ But the fact of the matter is, Australian tobacco companies are not just money making ventures. If we only cared about making money, why would we significantly shorten the lives of our most loyal customers?”
When reached for comment, Nicola Roxon, who was the Labor government’s health minister when the plain packaging laws were introduced in 2012, pointed out these figures “fly in the face” of those collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which state that less Australians are smoking now than before the introduction of the plain packaging laws. It should be noted for issues of transparency, however, that the ABS is funded by the government, the same organisation that introduced the plain packaging laws in the first place.