Join us in monitoring and researching the promotional activities of the global tobacco industry.
"In our opinion, [after taxation] the other two regulatory environment changes that concern the industry the most are homogenous packaging and below-the-counter sales. Both would significantly restrict the industry's ability to promote their products." Morgan Stanley Research (2007)
Plain packaging of tobacco products: a review of the evidence
A full review of the evidence that plain packaging of tobacco is a vital and effective tobacco control polity. This document systematically summarises compelling research to counter industry claims that plain packaging “won’t work”.
Liberal leader Tony Abbot has been wavering on whether his party will support plain packaging legislation. Citing concerns about a lack of evidence the policy will reduce smoking, Australia being the first country in the world to enact such a measure, Abbot has yet to endorse the policy. It is interesting to note that when Abbot was the Health Minister in 2004, he pushed through graphic health warnings on packs despite the policy being highly innovative and largely unevaluated at the time.
A regulation impact statement from that time outlines the evidence that Abbot was willing to accept to push ahead with packaging reforms.
I deserve to be heard tobacco industry campaign leaflets
Philp Morris is putting these inserts into all of their cigarette packs in protest to the recent tax increases, display bans, smoking bans and plain packaging reforms.
Plain "Generic" Packaging: the next major goal for tobacco control
Why should we permit any form of promotion for companies where the measure of their success, essentially, is how many Australians die? Professor Mike Daube
On 7 April 2011, the Australian Government tabled a draft bill to introduce plain packaging. Click here to read the draft bill and contribute to the public consultation. To read or watch an interview with Health Minister Nicola Roxon on ABC's Lateline, click here.
Australia's introduction of plain packaging is being watched around the world. "The....focus from investors is plain packaging, and in particular the proposal of the Government of Australia...We will continue to use all necessary resources and extensive stakeholder engagement and where necessary, litigation to actively challenge unreasonable regulatory proposals." Louis Camilleri Chairman and CEO of Philip Morris International
The Australian tobacco industry has made a barely veiled threats to the government: "I completely understand what the government is trying to do and their intentions. Our position, and the point that we want to make very clearly is, that given that this has never been done before, the unintended consequences, the things that we don't know that may fall from this...compensation to the tobacco industry from taxpayers, the possibility of cheaper cigarettes because of price competition in the absence of brands, higher illegal tobacco, is that really worth taking the risk , on those things?...I suppose the question is could the money that they (government) will have to spend in courts be better spent on more proven measures such as education or whatever it might be? Mark Connell, director of corporate and regulatory affairs, British American Tobacco Australia.
To hear a brief report from ABC radio click here (transcript and 5 minute audio). For a detailed report from ABC Radio's Background Briefing click here (approx 48 minutes - the file may take a few minutes to download) or read the transcript and download the audio file in other formats here.
Tobacco Industry delay tactics
The tobacco industry has filed 19 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests with the Australian Federal health department in anticipation of possible legal action against the proposed plain packaging reforms. Globally, the tobacco industry exploits freedom of information acts to stall or halt tobacco control policy.
A detailed outline of the latest requests can be read here.
Plain "Generic" Packaging: multiple views
Packaging is the front-line of product branding. Packaging is openly recognised by manufacturers as a form of advertising in its own right.
The Australian Government announced on April 29 2010 that from January 2012, all tobacco products sold in Australia will need to be sold in plain packs. Click here to view four powerpoint presentations from a lawyer, an economist, a marketing professor and an anti-regulation spokesperson (the IPA's Tim Wilson) on the issues arising, and here to view the videos.
Here is a backgrounder on Tim Wilson's views on plain packaging.
Click here for a review of the case for mandating that all cigarette packs should be sold in plain "generic" packs, differentiated only by the brand name. And the concept passes the tobacco industry "scream test" -- see text here of 2008 Tobacco Journal International article
Free to download and use these images to discuss and promote plain packaging of tobacco products. Please credit source as this website.
Examples of Novelty Packaging
Blu e-cigarettes have launched a social networking pack which vibrate and flash a blue light when they are within 50 feet of another pack. Read about it here.
This promotional cigarettes pack was designed for BAT Hamburg and aimed to promote the brand on the Austrian market.
Cigarette Packs and Graphical Cigarette Pack Health Warnings
Note: Simon Chapman does not own these images and cannot grant formal permission for their use.
With global acceleration in tobacco advertising and sponsorship bans, the pack assumes unprecedented importance as a promotional vehicle for reaching potential and current smokers.British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have predicted that pack design alone will drive brand imagery. Packs can communicate the “personality” of a brand to smokers, and smokers can project these characteristics by handling and displaying the package throughout their daily routines. Just as designer clothing, accessories and cars serve as social cues to style, status and character so too can cigarette packs signify a range of user attributes.
Here is a WHO site showing all pictorial packs warnings currently adopted.
The Cigarette Package Health Warnings Stautus Report produced by the Canadian Cancer Society in October 2010, contains a complete overview and ranking of warning labels in 170 nations. Click here (available in English, French and Spanish).
See Package Warnings: Overview of International Developments prepared by Rob Cunningham.
CigarettesPedia.com includes images of cigarette packs from around the globe.
ABC-TV's the Chaser's take on pack warnings
From 1 March 2006, Australia implemented graphical health warning messages on cigarette packets. Lots of information on the new pack designs can be found here.
The warning label requirements for cigarette packets are set out in the Trade Practices (Consumer Product Information Standards) (Tobacco) Regulations 2004 Statutory Rules 2004 No. 264. These regulations were notified in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on 26 August 2004 and commenced on 1 September 2004. The regulations apply to tobacco that is manufactured in Australia or imported into Australia and they set out the warning label requirements for cigarette packets and other tobacco products. Labelling of retail packages are set out under Parts 3 and 4 of the regulations: (1) A retail package manufactured in Australia, or imported into Australia, on or after 1 September 2004 and before 1 March 2006, must be labelled in accordance with Part 3 or 4. (2) A retail package manufactured in Australia, or imported into Australia, on or after 1 March 2006 must be labelled in accordance with Part 4 (warning message and corresponding graphic). Click here to review the explanatory statement accompanying the statutory rules.
See proposed new labels here.
Information about the implementation of graphic health warnings in Belgium can be found at the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
ANVISA, the Brazilian agency responsible for regulating tobacco, has announced an updated set of picture-based warnings. Nine of the 10 new graphical health warnings are shown below. Click here to view the press release.
From 20 December 2000, Canada implemented graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Information about the laws can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
2008: A new report on the likely impact of increasing the size of health warnings
From 12 November 2006, Chile implemented graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Information about the new laws can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
Information about European Union graphic health warning requirements can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
see all the new warnings here
The New Zealand government has approved plans to implement graphic health warnings on tobacco products. The pictorial warnings will cover 30% of the front of every cigarette packet and 90% of the rear. There are 14 health warning images. Seven warnings will appear on cigarette packets in both English and te reo Maori in year one, with a further seven warnings in year two and will then be rotated each year thereafter. Tobacco manufacturers have until February 27, 2008 to implement the new labelling regulations.
From 1 July 2004, Singapore implemented graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. The regulations were revised in 2006. Information about the laws can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
Thailand’s Minister of Health, Mr.Pinij Charusombat, has signed 4 new regulations on tobacco control on August 24, 2006, including five new pictorial health warnings. Click here to view Thailand's nine graphic health warnings.
This is Brazil’s third round of images and was developed based on research with men and women in the 18-24 years old age group from different educational backgrounds point to the most aversion-generating images.
From April 2006, Uruguay implemented graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Information about the laws can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
From 2004, Venezuela implemented graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Information about the laws can be found on the Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website.
Recent evaluations of the effectiveness of graphic health warnings:
Text and Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packages: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;32:202-209.
Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels in informing smokers about the risks of smoking: findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Tobacco Control 2006;15(Suppl 3):iii19-iii25.