Standardized cigarette packaging can deter smokers

Removal of branding from cigarette packets can discourage smokers, says a new research. Raising concern on increasing sale of cigarettes, researchers said that there should be a standard pack for all cigarettes brands as it might deter new smokers if not current smokers.

Research led by Robert West, editor in chief of the journal Addiction, found that plain packets with large health warning images can cut short the number of cigarettes a smoker smokes in a day. “Even if standardised packaging had no effect at all on current smokers and only stopped one in 20 young people from being lured into smoking (in the UK), it would save about 2,000 lives a year,” West said.

Australia became the first country to have plain and standardized packets for all cigarette brands when it passed the law in 2012. After analysing the trends in Australia, scientists found that people now don’t keep their brandless packs visible on the table. It has also resulted in a reduction in the outdoor smoking, in the cafe and bars. In addition, curiousness for new smokers to try every brand has gone.

Inspired by the results in Australia, UK is planning to pass the law by the end of March that will force all the tobacco producers to deliver their products in standardized packaging. The law will be effective from next year if passed. England will fall under the same law; however, Ireland and Wales can make some changes in the law.

Tobacco industry has opposed the move and said Australia has already tried the same but hasn’t been fruitful. Steadily increasing cigarette sale suggests that standardized packaging didn’t lay any effect on smokers mind neither did it prevent new smokers from getting into the bad habit. Moreover, they warned the UK government that they will knock the doors of the court if any such law is introduced.

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