In United Kingdom cigarette sales declined by 20 million a month after introducing of standardised packaging: Study reveals

The United Kingdom(UK)  was the second country in the world to implement standardised packaging for cigarette packs.  It is also the first country where comprehensive sales data are available to analyse the impact. In 2017, when the standardized packaging was fully implemented in UK, a new tax on cheaper cigarettes (the minimum excise tax – MET) was also introduced.

The Tobacco Control Research Group from University of Bath, has published a journal article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)’s Tobacco Control, highlighting how standardised packaging and new taxation measures in the United Kingdom(UK) have led to a large decline in cigarette sales. This blog post is based on that [Longitudinal evaluation of the impact of standardised packaging and minimum excise tax on tobacco sales and industry revenue in the UK ]

The researchers analyzed data over three years (May 2015 to April 2018)fromUK commercial supermarket and convenience store electronic point of sale data on tobacco.According to the study, pre-legislation, cigarette sales has declined on average by 12 million a month. This decreaseaccelerated sharply to 20 million a month after the legislation.

This study has also suggested that the tobacco industry’s net revenue (which is an indication of profits once taxes have been paid) fell by 13% after implementation, from £231M (Million 290.18 USD) to £198M(Million 248.72USD) per month.

Previous data available to the Tobacco Control Research Group showed that prices of the cheapest cigarette brands rose around May 2017 as the tobacco industry adjusted to manage the incoming MET. This latest analysis suggests that as these cheapest brands increased in price, they became less appealing and sales slowed.

This study further suggests that sales of roll-your-own tobacco have been growing steadily but this growth was not enough to compensate for the decline in cigarette sales.

As a result, the study suggests that the standardised packaging coupled with taxation can bring in reduced tobacco consumption. The Tobacco Control Research Group hope its findings provide important evidence to policymakers around the world on the effectiveness of standardised packaging.

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