Countries outside of the U.S. are finally raising their fists to big tobacco companies. In 2012, with a ban on individual branding for cigarette companies, all packs in Australia now carry a general design with no distinguishable characteristics separating one brand from another to avoid cigarette companies the opportunity to deceive their users.
Studies such as this suggest, “Cigarette pack design is an important communication device for cigarette brands and acts as an advertising medium.” Many smokers are misled by pack design into thinking that cigarettes may be “safer”.
Packaging is a very important component for consumer products when it comes to marketing strategy and most importantly assists consumers in selecting one product from a plethora of options. Unlike other products whose packaging is discarded before the consumer even uses the product, cigarette users hold onto the package as long as they are using the product, and generally keep the pack close to them at all times.
Cigarette package designer John Digianni stated, “A cigarette package is unique because the consumer carries it around with him all day . . .it’s a part of a smoker’s clothing, and when he saunters into a bar and plunks it down, he makes a statement about himself.” Users provide a living testimonial endorsement for their preferred product by constantly displaying their packs in public when they take them out for use.
Void of any design, the new cigarette packaging showcases disturbing photos that display the terrible effects of smoking, and brand names now live on the lower half of the box with identical color and font.
Although A recent study done by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health stated that “Following plain packaging implementation, there was a significant reduction in perceptions that ‘some cigarette brands are more harmful than others,” tobacco companies say that the new plain packaging has not effected sales in Australia, and in fact encourages tobacco smuggling.
With all of this information coming to light, the U.K. Parliament is following suit to ban cigarette package branding. Although the big tobacco companies insist they will be challenging said decision in court, it looks like the anti-tobacco activists are finally winning the war they have continually fought. Worried about the widespread influence this legislation may have throughout Europe, big tobacco companies insist they will be challenging the decision.
In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration dismissed plans to add graphic warning labels to cigarette packages, so it looks like the US won’t be considering this package design, or lack there of, any time soon.