Since the 1st December 2012 all cigarettes in Australia have to be sold in plain packaging.

First impressions in Australia indicated that smokers feel that cigarettes taste worse in plain packaging – an unexpected side effect. The tobacco industry acknowledges that packaging is an important part of the sales of cigarettes but it seems as if this packaging gives some preconceived ideas of how the cigarettes taste.

Studies comparing existing branded cigarette packs with plain cardboard packs bearing the name and number of cigarettes in small standard font, found plain packs to be significantly less attractive. Additionally, research that asked young adults to use plain cigarette packs and afterwards asked them about their feelings towards them, confirmed findings that the plain packaging increased negative perceptions and feelings about the pack and about smoking. The plain packs also increased behaviours such as hiding or covering the pack, smoking less around others, going without cigarettes and increased thinking about quitting. Almost half of the participants reported that plain packs had either increased the above behaviours or reduced consumption.

 I for one was extremely sceptical about the effect of plain packaging and did not think that it would affect the consumption of cigarettes. I must say that since the law has come into effect I have had people in the Redlands wanting to quit smoking because of the plain packaging. I will however reserve judgment as quite often there is an impact when something new happens but the effect lessens with time.

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