The Property Rights Alliance is opposed to the UK government’s plain packaging proposal for tobacco products. The proposal would ban all logos, coloring, trademarks, and images on cigarette packaging, requiring packages to be uniform with the exception of the brand name in a generic font. Similar proposals have surfaced in New Zealand and plain packaging will take effect in Australia beginning December 1, 2012.

Without the ability for competition through logo differentiation among tobacco companies, price will become an even more important factor in the selection of a pack of cigarettes. This may lead to a fall in the price of tobacco products, putting thousands of jobs at stake. Inferior counterfeit cigarettes that are a greater hazard to health will become significantly easier to produce with the simple standardized package, causing more illegal tobacco products to be consumed.

Plain packaging initiatives present a danger to intellectual property rights, as they prevent manufacturers from using their trademarks (that have previously been protected) to generate brand loyalty and recognition, therefore decreasing the economic value of the property. If these intellectual property rights are not respected now, who knows which rights will be taken away in the future?

The implementation of plain packaging of cigarettes should not be considered due to its lack of effectiveness and, above all, the threat it brings to individual property rights of the British people.