Plain Packaging: The Ideal [top]
Plain packaging of tobacco products is stripped of colors, graphics, manufacturers’ trademarks, and other promotional elements that attract consumers and encourage tobacco use.
Effective plain packaging legislation dictates that all tobacco packs are a standardized color, shape and size, with the brand name in a prescribed font and location. The only other elements permitted on the pack would be the information required by law: health warnings, manufacturers’ name, product identification code, and tax paid markings.
Plain packaging has been shown to:
reduce deception and suggestions by color of lighter, milder or safer cigarettes
increase the power of health warnings
undermine the seductiveness of smoking
fight brand-name power
support a comprehensive tobacco ad ban
restrict point-of-sale marketing
Because of its potential to neutralize the power of tobacco marketing, plain and standardized packaging has been identified as a powerful public health strategy by health experts and as a major threat by tobacco manufacturers and their allies.
Australia has been the leader in this area—in May 2011 the government released plain-packaging legislation that, if passed, would require cigarettes to be sold in plain, unappealing, olive-brown packs featuring large graphic health warnings, beginning January 2012.