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December 5th, 2012:

Thousands join Wirral campaign calling for plain tobacco packs

1:04pm Wednesday 5th December 2012

THOUSANDS of people across Wirral have joined a campaign calling for the introduction of plain, standardised tobacco packs.

In total 3,142 local residents signed up to the Plain Packs Protect campaign to demand the end of cigarette packaging aimed at young people.

The responses have been sent to Government to inform the consultation on plain, standardised tobacco packaging, which ended in August. The consultation results are expected early next year.

This mounting public support coincides with the introduction of standardised packaging in Australia.

Under the new law, which came into force on December 1, all tobacco packaging will be sold in drab, olive packs with new larger and more shocking picture health warnings.

The only branding will be the product name in a standard font and colour. The law also covers the cigarettes themselves – this will mean an end to slim fashion cigarettes which are promoted to young women.

Health experts have hailed it as the next step in helping to reduce young people taking up smoking.

Fiona Johnstone, Wirral’s director of Public Health said: “The response from the public across Wirral has been excellent.

“Many of the people who have signed up don’t smoke and are not familiar with what packs look like but, once they see some of the packs that are currently on sale, they are shocked.

“They understand how the packs appeal to young people as the ‘silent salesman’.

“The tobacco industry spends a lot of time and money making cigarettes attractive to young people.

“They know that they will then have many customers for life. The introduction of plain, standardised packaging would mean a victory for our children’s health and a defeat for the tobacco industry.”

Peer reviewed studies from around the world show that standardised packaging will reduce the attractiveness of smoking to young people, curb misleading messages that one cigarette is healthier than another and make picture health warnings more effective.

Bromborough mum Alison Theobald signed up to support the campaign in the summer.

She said: “I think anything that helps to deter youngsters from smoking has to be a good thing. Removing the branding takes away the street credibility that smoking has and will help to discourage young people from smoking.”

Andrea Crossfield, director of campaign group Tobacco Free Futures said: “The introduction of plain, standardised packaging is a vital step in Australia to make tobacco less attractive to their children and young people and we would like to see this happen in the UK, where most smokers start as children.

“In the North West, more than four out of five of those who try smoking do so as children before they are aged 14.

“The new packs are designed to have the lowest appeal – especially to non-smokers and children, and clearly show the death and disease smoking causes.

“Since the launch of the plain packs consultation in April, more than 63,000 people from across the North West have signed up to support the introduction of plain, standardised cigarette packaging.

“This is the largest number of people to sign up of any region in the country, which is testament to how passionate people in the North West are about making smoking history for children.”


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Bosses of King’s Lynn firm Bespak secure deal for tobacco-free cigarettes

Bosses of King’s Lynn firm Bespak secure deal for tobacco-free cigarettes

By shaun Lowthorpe Business editor
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
6:30 AM

Bosses of King’s Lynn-based Bespak have won a major deal to manufacture a tobacco-free alternative to cigarettes.

Parent company Consort Medical said that Bespak has signed a multi-year exclusive contract with Nicoventures Ltd, a stand-alone company within the British American Tobacco Group, focusing on the development and commercialisation of licensed nicotine products.

Bespak – which is best known for producing drug delivery devices for respiratory medicine – produces more than 500 million drug delivery devices each year.

The new contract is for the supply of an innovative nicotine inhalation product for use as a safer alternative to smoking.

Bespak, which has a base at Bergen Way in King’s Lynn, will manufacture the inhalation system and have responsibility for the final assembly of the product, including a canister containing an active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Consort Medical said the supply of the product by Bespak would get under way after securing the regulatory green light.

The announcement comes as Consort is expected to publish its interim results today and with the Lynn site set to be the focus of the manufacturing effort, the deal is a further boost to the facility, which this year expanded its staff numbers after the closure of its Sheffield factory.

Jon Glenn, chief executive officer of Consort Medical, said: “This is an exciting contract award for Consort Medical, which further demonstrates the full spectrum of the group’s competencies, from product development, through to drug handling and full device assembly.

“The full extent of the revenue opportunity will only become evident following regulatory approval and the product launch. While we do not expect any near-term revenue impact, we are optimistic about the prospects for the product in this very promising market.”

Adrian Marshall, Nicoventures’ managing director, said: “We are delighted to have agreed the contract with Bespak. This takes us closer to our ambition of introducing an innovative, licensed nicotine product as a safer alternative to smoking.”

COSBOA attacks Ken Phillips’ claims that it’s controlled by big tobacco


COSBOA attacks Ken Phillips’ claims that it’s controlled by big tobacco

By Cara Waters
Tuesday, 04 December 2012

The Council of Small Business Australia has fought back against claims by its former chairman that the organisation is controlled by the big tobacco companies.

Ken Phillips told SmartCompany his shock resignation from COSBOA’s board a month ago was a result of the involvement of “tobacco interests” in COSBOA.

“They control the organisation and it’s financially dependent for its solvency on money from tobacco,” he says.

“I don’t believe it’s a good look in terms of the lobbying for small business, the dominance just does not serve small business lobbying.”

Phillips says tobacco companies have given COSBOA “tens of thousands” of dollars and that the tobacco companies control the numbers on the board and on the council.

He says he resigned after failing to try to balance the numbers on COSBOA’s council and board.

“I have been attempting to bring a balance and I concluded that I was not able to achieve that balance, I did not want the tobacco interests controlling it, I wanted this to be a broad church,” he says.

“The board of Independent Contractors Australia concluded [COSBOA] was not a viable association to be associated with in terms of achieving high quality policy outcomes for small business people there is no value in being involved with a dead horse.”

However COSBOA has fought back against Phillips’ allegations and Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA told SmartCompany Phillips is “making mischief for the sake of it”.

Strong says COSBOA has received funding from the tobacco companies in the past but has not received any “direct” funding from tobacco companies since 2010.

“Tobacco companies have been sponsors in the past and a lot of our members don’t see it as being a particular problem to be honest, the Business Council of Australia has tobacco companies as members as does the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” he says.

“We get no money directly from the tobacco industry any more but it may come through members.”

COSBOA has previously lobbied against cigarette taxes and legislative changes involving cigarettes claiming they hurt small business.

Strong says Phillips has known about the tobacco funding for a long time and that it is not the real reason behind his resignation.

“Everything he said is wrong. He has been on the board for two years and he was chairman for six months and he reckons he only found out then where funding comes from and it doesn’t come from those sources,” Strong says.

“Ken Phillips’ problem is that he does not control the board at COSBOA. It is not controlled by tobacco companies, it consists of people from a whole range of organisations, accounting groups, women’s groups, retailers and small business councils.

“The fact Ken was saying he didn’t know anything about the finances of the organisation was obviously wrong any decent director would know that.”

Phillips claims he did not know about the tobacco company funding as COSBOA’s annual accounts have still not been signed off or audited.

“I’ve been on the board for two years the accounts were a mess, it took a very considerable time to find out what was going on,” he says.

Tobacco control of small business ‘inherently wrong’, says whistleblower

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Dispute Concerning the Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products

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