At last, truth in cigarette advertising

Beckey Freeman & Simon Chapman; 30/4/10

From January 2012, all cigarettes will be sold in plain packages. No logos, no shiny finishes, no bright colours, no pretty pictures. Instead of reassuring and persuasive brand imagery, graphic health warnings will dominate the pack. The tobacco industry has long acknowledged the huge importance that packaging has within the marketing mix. In 1995, a tobacco industry executive summed it up perfectly, “… if you smoke, a cigarette pack is one of the few things you use regularly that makes a statement about you. A cigarette pack is the only thing you take out of your pocket 20 times a day and lay out for everyone to see. That’s a lot different than buying your soap powder in generic packaging.”… Investment firm Citigroup has already issued a response on Australia’s move to implement plain packaging, viewing it as the “biggest regulatory threat to the industry, as packaging is the most important way tobacco companies have to communicate with the consumer and differentiate their products”. This is a ringing endorsement that plain packaging is a public health winner.