Plainer packaging may reduce tobacco consumption amongst young women
Summary of story from The Independent, September 9, 2011
Packaging cigarettes in plainer wrapping and prohibiting the sale of coloured, branded packs may help reduce tobacco consumption amongst smokers, most notably young women, a Scottish study has found.
Research undertaken by scientists at Stirling University’s Institute for Social Marketing found there was a marked reduction in smoking amongst a group of 48 young smokers who were given plain packs to replace their usual branded ones over a two-week period.
These findings lend weight to a contentious suggestion that tobacco companies should be forced by law to pare down their advertising, and comply with plainer aesthetics which have a greater focus on health risks.
The Government is expected to announce a formal consultation on the proposal later this year.
Scientists carried out the tests on the effects of packaging on a sample of young smokers from Glasgow, aged between 18 and 35, who completed detailed questionnaires about their attitude towards the plain packs they were given to hold their usual brands of cigarettes.
The study, published last Thursday in the journal Tobacco Control, concluded:
“This pilot naturalistic study suggests that plain packaging could potentially help to reduce tobacco consumption among some young adult smokers, and women in particular.”
Crawford Moodie, the study’s lead author said “The plain packets were rated more negatively than branded packets, cigarettes were taken out less often, handed out less frequently and the packs were hidden more often.
“Despite the small size of this study it adds an important real-world dimension to the research on the way smokers respond to plain packaging.”
“The study confirms the lack of appeal of plain packs, with the enjoyment and consumption of cigarettes being reduced. We’re now looking to build on this research to understand more about the impact of packaging on smokers,” she added.