Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Plain tobacco packs would aid counterfeiters

I have worked in the packaging industry for more than 40 years and can assure you that the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products would have unintended consequences.

The production of packaging is a complex process and involves not only the common 20s carton, but a range of other products – all produced to exacting standards.

The printing techniques for the branding on the packs employ enhanced design features, such as embossing, debossing, hot-foil stamping and UV varnish, among others, and typically use between eight and 10 unique colours from state-of-the-art printing equipment.

In contrast, pictorial health warnings, which would feature on plain packaging, can be produced and reproduced using low-cost printing techniques.

Any move to a plain packaging specification will benefit the counterfeiter and producer of fake products.

The Government's aims of reducing the number of young people smoking should be supported. But the effect of plain packaging could potentially be the opposite.

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