Plain packaging – what’s it all about?
What does the plain
packaging of tobacco mean?
All brand names would have to be written in a standard typeface, colour and size. And all other trademarks, logos, colour schemes and graphics would be banned.
Why should we support plain packaging?
Make packs less attractive to our children
Every year, another 340,000 children in the UK are tempted to try smoking. And research has shown that they are more likely to be attracted by designed tobacco packs, than by plain packs.
With regulation in place to restrict television, radio and other advertising, packaging is becoming more and more important to the tobacco industry to help sell their products.
Shiny holograms, pretty pastel colours and wrappers are just some of the eye-catching pack designs available, and there is building evidence to suggest that these packs can attract and mislead children.
But how can we stop children from starting smoking? Click here and read more facts
Increase the effectiveness of health warnings
Under the new law, health warnings could be updated and increased from 30% to 75% of the pack front.
Evidence suggests that the impact of health warnings are lost on current branded packs and become less noticeable.
If the new plain packaging law is passed in the UK, this will change. The health warnings will become bigger and more eye-catching against a plain background. This means that by making packaging plain, health warnings will become more effective.
Plain packaging of tobacco products could reduce the amount of children smoking by:
- Making tobacco packaging look less attractive
- Increasing the effectiveness of health warnings
- Preventing the use of misleading and deceptive colours to create false beliefs of different strength and quality
- Removing the positive association with cigarette brands and image
There is no evidence plain packaging will work.
Research and large scientific surveys from around the world indicate that plain packs are less appealing; make the health warnings more effective; and stop smokers believing that some brands are less harmful than others.
Tobacco smuggling will increase because plain packs are easily counterfeited.
There is no evidence that plain packaging will lead to an increase in the illicit trade in tobacco. Plain packs may not have the brand logos and colours, but they will still be required to have all the health warnings and other covert security markings – so they will actually be no easier to counterfeit.
Plain packs will cause confusion and extra costs for small businesses.
The main impact will be on reducing uptake amongst young people and not on current smokers. Which means sales will decline gradually and not overnight, allowing shops time to adapt. Research measuring over 5,000 ‘retail transactions’ (the time shop staff take to find the right pack and hand it over), found that plain packs if anything reduced transaction times and selection errors.
Tobacco is going to be put out of sight, so we don’t need plain packs.
Tobacco packaging will only be hidden in shops. Once outside, it will continue to work as the industry’s ‘silent salesman’ advertising brands and promoting smoking to children.
Isn’t this going too far? Are other ‘unhealthy’ products going to be branded plain too?
Tobacco is not like any other product. It is the only legal consumer product on the market which is lethal when used as the manufacturer intended. Plain packs for tobacco will not set a precedent for other consumer products.
To read more about the consultation visit our news section
For more details about how you can protect children by supporting plain packaging visit www.plainpacksprotect.co.uk