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Plain packaging legislation drives manufacturers to look for innovative solutions

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by Naveen A , Research Analyst, Packaging
1 January 2017


The UK implemented a standardized cigarette packaging legislationin May 2016aimed at reducing the prevalence of smoking.With the advent of e-cigarettes, the smoking rateshave been going down in most parts (In England, rates have been consistently coming down since 2012). One of the significant initiatives to reduce these rates furtheris plain packaging. The other allied legislations enacted as part of the tobacco control policy areincrease in taxes (additional tax of 16.5 percent in the UK) and ban on advertising. As per the legislation, cigarette packaging should be standardized with color-free branding and large sized warning messages with the manufacturer’s name written in a regular style. In 2012, asimilar law implemented in Australia proved to be successful inreducing the daily smoking prevalence by 2percentin 2013.

Other countries such as Ireland, France, New Zealand and Canada arealso looking to implement this law as part of their tobacco control policy. Tobacco manufacturers with a product presence in the UK are expected to adopt this packaging in May 2017.

Therefore, it is imperative for cigarette manufacturers to redesign their packaging to conform to the new regulations.The article discusses the legislation’s impact on the tobacco packaging industry.

What is plain packaging?

All cigarette packs will be stripped from colored branding and will have one single color -'Pantone 448 C opaque couche'. Moreover,there will be an increase in warning messages and images. The aim is to make them less appealing to people,especially youth andchildren. This has severely disturbed the industry which has mainly depended on its marketing strategy to make their products appear glossy and desirable.Now,there will be a standard undifferentiated product in the market without any brand identity,thereby discouraging customer buying activity.

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