Rumours about possible calls to introduce plain packaging in the food and drinks industry has turned attention towards their actual efficacy in deterring consumption of certain products. GlobalData explores the impact of the initiative

Plain tobacco packaging did not influence 78% of Australian smokers

Plain packaging is intrinsically associated with tobacco given that it has been the first category in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market to be forced to adopt standardise packs banning brand logos and colours. As such, studies and surveys about the effectiveness of such legislation in the tobacco category should be considered before extending the policy to other industries.

Australia was the first country in the world to implement plain packaging legislation, which became effective in December 2012, followed by the UK in 2016. However, GlobalData’s Q4 2015 consumer survey unveiled that plain tobacco packaging did not influence 78% of Australian smokers who said they continued to buy their usual tobacco brand while. According to the survey, only 9% of them were encouraged to quit smoking.

What Influence does/would plain tobacco packaging have on your tobacco purchases?


It will encourage me to quit smoking

I will consider buying a different brand to the one I usually buy

I will continue to buy my usual tobacco brand







The findings have been confirmed late last year from research carried out by CanvasU poll on behalf of Japan Tobacco International.  CanvasU interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults over the age of 18 in a nationally representative online survey in November 2017 in order to understand Australians’ views five years after the implementation of cigarettes’ plain packaging. The research found that the majority (59%) of Australians think that standardised tobacco packaging has been ineffective.

With this in mind, governments should have a better thought about the possibility of extending standardised packaging to other FMCG categories with the purpose of deterring consumers to purchase ‘villain’ products, such as tobacco or food and drinks high in sugar, such as confectionery or chocolate.

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