Thursday, August 2, 2012

De-Marketing Cigarettes

To discourage smoking, Australia has passed a plain packaging law mandating that cigarettes not be marketed in colorful brand-specific packages. Instead, cig packages will conform to a simple, unexciting, standard look--accompanied by graphic images depicting the health consequences of smoking. Assuming, of course, that legal challenges don't stop the law's implementation. (UPDATE: Legal challenges failed and tobacco companies have to comply with the new law as of December 1, 2012.)
Australia's plain packages would look similar to this.
Canada was the first country to mandate graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging, and now 50+ nations have followed its lead. Research suggests that changing cig packaging and marketing does influence consumer behavior.

Meanwhile, tobacco companies are trying to delay or derail the use of graphic images on packages and in stores. Although the US Food & Drug Administration has been allowed to regulate tobacco and tobacco marketing since 2009, manufacturers are using legal challenges to protest some aspects. No matter what, the trend toward de-marketing cigarettes will continue--only the pace is in question.

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