The Smokefree Coalition's Myths and Realities of Smokefree England following the smoking ban is now a hilarious read, with almost all these so-called 'myths' since having turned out to be true, and now their myth-busting over plain packs looks to be heading in the same humiliating direction.
We've had loads of fun here ridiculing myth #7 in their 'list' (really just a lobbying document) - no public health advocate can possibly now claim that plain packs are not already setting a precedent for other consumer products - but today saw the sad demise of myth #2 as well.
Myth#2: Tobacco smuggling will increase because plain packs are easily counterfeited
FACT: Existing packs are no obstacle to counterfeiting. There is no evidence that plain packaging will lead to an increase in the illicit trade in tobacco, thereby reducing legal sales.Tobacco packs are already easily counterfeited which is why the industry is required to put covert markings on all tobacco packs to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit packs. Plain packs may not have tobacco brand logos and colours but they will have all the health warnings and other markings required on current packs – so they will be no easier to counterfeit.
Considering tobacco controllers pretend to be the world's experts on everything from high economics, through package manufacture and onto global trade law, a Sun newspaper investigation published today (£) must come as a bit of an embarrassment to them.
Indonesian forger Faus Firdaus said his profits would soar when he no longer has to copy the complex packaging and embossing on popular makes like Marlboro and Regal.
He even punched the air as he mocked PM David Cameron, cheering: "Plain packaging... I support the UK government!"
Findaus said of the plain packaging move: "We will make more money. We can make it cheaper but sell for the same price. It's good for you, good for me."
Another fake fag kingpin Djomaidi Oetomo told our undercover team he could design packets mimicking famous brands - but producing plain packaging would be cheaper.
He wanted around £75 per case of 500 packets to produce Regal rip-offs. But that fell to £56.60 for plain packs. That would give him a staggering £214,800 more profit a year shipping in a single container a month.
So we can now strike myth #2 off the Smokefree Coalition's list as not a myth but, instead, a cast-iron certainty.
Not only will plain packaged cigarettes be easier to counterfeit, they will also be 25% cheaper for smugglers to buy; probably a bigger reduction in costs for counterfeiters to make; and will significantly increase profit margins for criminal gangs, thereby making the illicit trade even more attractive than sky high duty levels have already done.
Any politician who still thinks plain packaging is worthwhile should ask themselves why on earth they think it clever to promote a policy of job creation and subsidies for criminal south east Asian gangs.