Recently, Europe’s highest court upheld a law that will standardize packaging and ban the advertising of e-cigarettes. This is the latest push by federal governments to try and curb the trial and use of tobacco products. Starting in New Zealand in 1989, several countries, including, Australia, France, United Kingdom and Australia have begun to adapt plain packaging practices for tobacco products.
What is Plain Packaging?
“…generic, standardized or homogeneous packaging, refers to packaging that requires the removal of all branding (colors, imagery, corporate logos and trademarks), permitting manufacturers to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings and any other legally mandated information such as toxic constituents and tax-paid stamps. The appearance of all tobacco packs is standardized, including the color of the pack.”
Countries around the globe have implemented the regulations to reduce the appeal of tobacco products to young people, increase the awareness of health risks, reduce the risk of misleading consumers about the risk associated with using tobacco products and to decrease the smoking rate. For a more detailed list of the requirements in the Australian Plain Tobacco Packaging Law, visit the Australian Department of Health website.
In Australia alone, from December 2013 – 2014, tobacco consumption dropped 12.2%. Since the law was enacted in 2012, total tobacco consumption has dropped 12.8%. These figures are according the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Statistics for European nations are not available yet. The laws are to take effect from 20 May, but the new units will not be on sale until stocks of existing cartons have been cleared over the next year.
Additionally, don’t expect any change in the United States anytime soon. While the FDA tried to implement graphic warnings in 2011, they were sued by big tobacco in Federal Court. Not much progress has been made since.