The Plain Packaging of Tobacco

What does the plain packaging of tobacco mean?

It requires all tobacco products are to be sold in uniformly coloured packaging (a drab, unappealing one such as olive green or brown are considered most effective) with plain-font brand name only - no colour or design that could add appeal; no trademarks, logos, descriptors, inserts/onserts or promotional information. These restrictions against promotional elements will apply to the exterior and interior of packs, including the cigarette itself. This will prohibit use of unique or coloured filters, printing or embossing of logos.

Under the new law, health warnings could also be updated and increased from 30% to 75% of the pack front. Brand imagery alongside pack health warnings sends a mixed message about the product and can undermine impact of warnings, particularly on youth. Some brands incorporate colours of health warnings into pack design so they “blend in” and become less striking.


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Why is this important?

With regulation in place to restrict television, radio and other advertising tobacco companies are placing increasing investment and emphasis on the packaging of their products. From holographic packs to slimline packets there is building evidence that they are used to attract and influence the next generation of smokers.


Research over two decades and across five countries on the topic of plain packaging includes the results of more than 25 published experimental studies which have examined the likely impact of plain packaging on young people and current smokers.

Plain packaging of tobacco products could:

  • Stop use of packs as promotion and advertising.
  • Increase effectiveness of health warnings.
  • Prevent use of misleading and deceptive packaging to create false beliefs of different strength and quality.
  • Reduce youth smoking and decrease youth uptake.
  • Remove positive association with cigarette brands/image.


Has this been done anywhere else?

The Australian Government has proposed legislation mandating that all tobacco products must be sold in plain packaging in Australia by December 1 2012 – the first country in the world to make this commitment. This has been led by their government.

More information to follow on our campaign …

For more information about the plain packaging of tobacco campaign please go to

All of Smokefree South West’s Freedom of Information responses can be found at

Plain Packs Protect campaign submission document (Click to see document)