Public support plain standardised packaging of cigarettes

Friday 10 August 2012

On the closing day of the Government’s consultation on tobacco packaging figures show that more than 200,000 members of the public have responded to the Plain Packs Protect campaign, demonstrating support for plain, standardised packaging of all tobacco products. [1]
This is backed up by research carried out by YouGov for ASH which found that 62% of adults in England support tobacco being sold in plain packaging while only 11% oppose the measure. For this poll, respondents were shown an example of a standardised pack. [2]
The public’s support for standardised packaging is in marked contrast to the petitions and publicity campaigns of the tobacco industry which rely on retailers and those allied to the industry for support. [3]
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said:
“Plain, standardised packaging of its lethal products frightens Big Tobacco silly because it threatens its profits. That’s why the industry has devoted millions of pounds to put pressure on politicians and prevent the Government from going ahead with this measure. But the public know better. Shown what plain standardised packs could look like they are overwhelmingly in support of this proposal. They want to protect our children and save the next generation from the death and disease caused by smoking.”
Plain standardised packs would mean that all cigarette packets would look the same, except for the brand name, in a standard font in a standardised size and colour with prominent health warnings. Australia will be the first country to go ahead with plain standardised packaging from December 2012. [4]



[1] Plain Packs Protect:

For further information on the case for tobacco plain packaging see: the Smokefree Action Coalition Briefing

[2] YouGov Survey. Sample size 10,000 adults. Fieldwork conducted between 27th February and 16th March 2012

Note: Plain standardised packs will still require the pictorial health warning, tax stamp, and other legally required information such as tar and nicotine content. As such they will be no easier to counterfeit than current branded packs.

[3] JTI has spent £2 million on a publicity campaign against plain packaging.

In Australia the tobacco industry spent Aus$9 million but still lost the argument against plain packaging.

The Hands of Our Packs campaign is organised by the pro-smoking organisation FOREST which in turn is funded by the UK tobacco companies. They have not said how much is being spent on this campaign.

[4] Australia will be the first country in the world to require plain, standardised packaging for all tobacco products from December 2012. See Australian Government Notice:
[5] The industry’s arguments against plain packaging have been shown to be false. See: ASH Briefing on Plain Packaging: