The Alliance of Australian Retailers is urging the government to abandon its policy to require plain packaging for cigarettes.
Alliance spokesperson, Sheryle Moon, said Australia’s corner stores, convenience stores, milk bars, newsagents and service stations have placed an open letter in newspapers across the country telling Canberra they were fed up with excessive regulation that was making it harder for small businesses to run their businesses.
“The proposed plain packaging for cigarettes is the final straw for small businesses and we have created a new peak body to advocate against it,” she said.
“Representing around 15,000 mostly small businesses that employ almost 200,000 Australians, the alliance is telling government that enough is enough.
“We believe reducing smoking is good for our community but good policy requires more than good intentions.
“There is no reliable evidence anywhere in the world that plain packaging will stop people from taking up smoking or help people quit. So if it won’t work, why do it?” she said.
Moon said plain packaging had been considered by the UK and Canada and rejected by both countries.
“With every state in Australia already moving to ban the display of tobacco products, customers won’t even be able to see cigarettes when they walk into our stores, so how will plain packaging make any difference?” she asked.
“The government should support hard-working Australians instead of pursuing an untested and unproven policy.
“Politicians like to describe businesses such as ours as the backbone of the economy, but we are fed up with having to deal with poorly developed policies that won’t work, but that will make it harder for us to run our businesses.”
Moon said plain packaging is another example of policy that hasn’t been thought through and won’t work – just like Fuel Watch, Grocery Watch and the Alcopops tax.