Tobacco marketing

Tobacco packinging

Tobacco advertising is a major factor in encouraging young people to start smoking. We think there should be restrictions on all forms of tobacco marketing aimed at getting people to start smoking, especially young people.

Plain, standardised packaging

Tobacco companies have used package design as a marketing tool to make products more attractive, acting as a 'silent salesman' for tobacco brands. Making all cigarette packs completely plain – showing only product name, brand, and health warnings – would stop them from doing this.

In polling carried out in 2011, we found that one in four young people that were regular smokers judged one brand to be healthier than another when presented with two different branded packs – the reality is that all cigarettes contain the same toxins, tar and carbon monoxide that lead to half of regular smokers dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases.

We think standardised packaging would help to save lives by:

  • preventing the packaging from being used to advertise the product
  • making the the packaging less attractive, particularly to young people
  • increasing the effectiveness of health warnings, and ensuring that smokers aren't being misled about some brands being less harmful than others.
Australia was the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging in December 2012. Since this introduction, support for the measure amongst Australian smokers and non-smokers has almost doubled, as has the noticeability of the health warnings on packs.

For more information, please see this BHF commissioned report: Standardised Packaging for Tobacco Products: Recent evidence from Australia and United Kingdom, December 2014.

For more information, please read our policy statement or email us at [email protected].