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Technological inventions, such as the e-cigarette, are the way forward for the tobacco industry, according to a regulatory professional from Philip Morris International (PMI).
Alistair Mackay, head of regulatory affairs, UK & Ireland for PMI, was speaking at the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) spring conference in London.
During his speech, Mackay discussed standardised packaging and how it could have an effect on other industries.
In May last year, WIPR reported that the English High Court held that plain packaging on cigarettes is mandatory.
The decision came after four tobacco firms, PMI, British American Tobacco (BAT), Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International, lodged a challenge against the new plain packaging legislation, which implemented the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU).
The ruling meant that all tobacco packaging in the UK must be in an olive green colour, with large images of health warnings covering 65% of the front and back of every packet.
Only BAT appealed against the ruling. In November 2016, the English Court of Appeal upheld the original decision.
Mackay told delegates that the CEO of PMI, Andre Calantzopoulos, announced in November last year that he might phase out conventional cigarettes “for good”.
Discussing how other industries should react if they become subject to regulations such as plain packaging, Mackay told delegates to prioritise research and development and said that it doesn’t matter about the strength of a legal case on paper because “politics trumps law”.
He explained that if the government decides it wants to implement plain packaging, it will.
Mackay said that plain packaging is soon going to be a “footnote” and that the industry is now being “driven” by technological changes.
CITMA’s spring conference ended on Friday, March 17.
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Alistair Mackay, Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, trademark, plain packaging, tobacco industry, Philip Morris International, e-cigarettes,