Today I would like to tell you a story about the real uses of the Codentify system in the hands of the major tobacco companies to promote their strategic campaigns against public health legislation. One of the most interesting examples I’ve found is the lobbying effort against plain tobacco packaging in the UK.
First thing’s first, to those who don’t know what plain packaging legislation is – it’s a law that forces tobacco companies to sell their products in standardized packaging, with no brand-logo or any other information other than bold health warnings. This is already mandatory in Australia, and it is being introduced in some countries such as the UK and Ireland, so by the end of 2017 it will be compulsory there as well.
There is an ongoing worldwide debate on whether these laws are helpful, and I don’t want to elaborate on that matter. If you’re interested in more information I would start from the links submitted to the following Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_tobacco_packaging
What is undebatable is the large efforts the tobacco industry invests to undermine these laws. Unlike fighting illicit trade, they find fighting plain packs a SERIOUS BUSINESS. They took it seriously enough to cynically use Codentify as their number 1 excuse claimed by their lobbyists to block these laws:
Meet MP Michael Morris (AKA Lord Naseby), the noble Lord is a consistent supporter of the Codentify system, and in recent debates on the topic of plain packaging, he attacked the plain packs law from an original point of view – the reason he opposes this law is not that it would reduce tobacco industry’s revenue, but that it would ban Codentify from being printed on the packs and therefore boost illicit trade!
The full protocol can be found in the link bellow.
Oh, one thing Lord Naseby has forgotten to mention, he is on a recent list of parliament members that accepted gifts from the tobacco industry! The Lord himself was invited to an Eagles concert by JIT! Now lobbying for JIT alongside MP Ian Paisley Jr. for example, who has penned an open letter including 51 other MPs against plain packs (while JIT owns one of the largest factories in Ballymena, the area he represents). I urge you to read the Telegraph’s article on that topic.
I’ll conclude with the answer of Lord Faulkner from the protocol mentioned earlier:
“In his amendment, and in his speech just now, the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, referred to the security system “Codentify”. This is a tobacco industry controlled system which the World Health Organization has concluded does not meet the requirements of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control anti-smuggling treaty that tracking and tracing systems have to be controlled by Governments, not by the tobacco industry. There is already a marking system on packs in the UK which enables enforcement officers to determine whether cigarettes are counterfeit. The tobacco industry opposes standard packaging for one reason only, and that is because it works.”
Now as I said earlier, I don’t know if plain packaging “works”, I only know what WORKS against it.