Recent moves to introduce plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products can save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products, according to WHO and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat (WHO FCTC).
Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.
In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging. On 20 May 2016, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland each began implementation of plain packaging. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure, while other countries are exploring the option.
How plain packaging works
“Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “It restricts tobacco advertising and promotion. It limits misleading packaging and labelling. And it increases the effectiveness of health warnings.”
Plain packaging is recommended in WHO FCTC guidelines as part of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control that includes large graphic health warnings and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.