British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) has hit back against claims made about its Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) this morning. In response to the front-page article, BATA has said that their FOI request was made “because we want to find out if plain packaging – a measure introduced without evidence and that directly affects our industry – is having the impact the Australian government claims it is.” BATA also emphasised that they “asked for figures via a normal FOI request” and did not “seek any personal data or information in respect of children”.
The SMH feature detailed the opinions of public health advocates who believe there are ulterior motives behind Big Tobacco’s FOI petitions. Some advocates are particularly concerned the information would be used to target tobacco advertising at young Australians. However, BATA has reiterated that “children are not, and will never be, our audience and we have always made this clear. This isn’t about children, this is about plain packaging.”