The plain packages for cigarettes debate continues, as the World Health Organization released a new set of recommendation to help governments all over the world in fighting the smoking habit. One of the instructions reinforces the importance of plain tobacco packages.
Statistics show that every year approximately 6 million people die because of tobacco products.
The new guidelines include banning brand images, logos, and colors from tobacco packages. However, health warnings will be kept.
Some countries may encounter legal challenges and opposing reactions from tobacco companies as it seems to be a general rule when it comes to limiting the market strategies to sell cigarettes.
One successful example of implementation is Australia, where the plain package was introduced in 2012. A recent survey shows that the number of smokers was reduced with 108,228 persons in the three years that followed.
The supporters of the package restrictions say that colored and glamorous packages increase the consumer’s desire and reinforce the bad habit. This opinion is backed up by scientific evidence emerging from studies, surveys and focus group conclusions that all showed a connection between the smoking habit and the image of the package.
Following Australia’s example, other countries started to take into consideration promoting the change in packets. Among these countries are United Kingdom, Ireland, and France.
However, other economists disagree with this causal relation between plain packages and reduced tobacco consumption. They say that the smoking trend is already declining for several years, and there is no objective proof that the package change motivated the consumption drop.
On the other hand, there is no evidence that the amount of sold tobacco had decreased. The survey consisted of people self-reporting their smoking habits.
One plausible scenario is that Australian smokers may have turned away from tobacco brands and started to buy contraband tobacco that was cheaper.
Experts say that after the introduction of plain packaging, the tobacco smuggling in Australia raised with 26%.
A US lobby group targeted Australia’s plain package implementation and released mocking ads and pamphlets that attack the logic behind the measure.
The advocacy group defending the rights of intellectual property accused Australia’s government of deceiving the public with the recent presentations of the presumably successful results of the anti-tobacco measures.
Opponents of implementation declare that the new law restricts consumer choice and crushes intellectual property.
The World Health Organization continuously dedicates efforts to reduce the number of preventable diseases connected to tobacco consumption.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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