This site is about a policy called Plain Packaging for tobacco products that the federal government is pushing through. This site is produced by JTI-Macdonald Corp., a Canadian tobacco manufacturer
What is on this site isn’t just our views. It isn’t just our evidence or research.
Whether a smoker or non-smoker, we just ask that you step back and do some critical thinking. Look at both sides of the argument and ask “Does that seem right to you?” If nothing else, we hope you will discuss the issues it raises with somebody else. Whatever your view, if you believe in making a fair and balanced decision, you need to see both sides of the argument.
In August, concerned that both sides of the argument weren’t being heard, we commissioned an independent research company, Forum Research Inc., to do a large 2,000 sample national survey of Canadians’ views on plain packaging, the public consultancy and related issues. You can check out Forum here http://poll.forumresearch.com. If you want to read all the questions and download the result tables – you can do it here.
It raises questions about plain packaging and the approach to policy evaluation that are at odds with how Canadians expect a government to behave. If anything you discover here bothers you, we have made it easy for you to ask your MP to raise it in Parliament.
Just 2 weeks before the public consultation on plain packaging closed on 31st August 2016, fewer than 1 in 5 Canadians knew about the government’s policy on plain packaging and could explain it to a friend or family members. Fewer than 1 in 10 Canadians understood what the public consultation was about.
The majority of Canadians believe plain packaging won’t reduce smoking, that the policy is unnecessary, a poor use of government resources and will increase illegal cigarettes. 81% of Canadians think that before any change to ‘plain’ packaging, the government should clearly state the likely costs to the taxpayer, as a result of increased illegal tobacco.
Evidence, transparency and an open mind
When appointing Health Minister Jane Philpott, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote in an open letter to her: “Canadians need to have faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen. I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians.” We created this website because these words are not reflected in the federal government’s actions.
In Canada, cigarette packs already have 75% warnings, both written and graphic, on both sides of the packs. In stores you can’t physically see them. You have to ask for them. We don’t believe the plain packaging policy will work and know there will be serious unintended consequences, which we deal with here in detail.
None of these matters and the evidence around them were covered in the government’s consultation.
We named this site “Both sides of the argument” for a reason. More than three-quarters of Canadians believe the government should keep an open mind and weigh up both sides of the argument for and against plain packaging for cigarettes.