Consumers say plain cigs packs won’t work

The majority of smokers and non-smokers in the UK are unconvinced that stripping logos and branding from cigarette packaging will make them less appealing, according to research seen exclusively by Marketing Week.


Just a quarter of people in the UK (28 per cent) think that selling cigarettes in plain packaging would discourage younger people from taking up smoking, the stance that health organisations are currently taking to push the law in this territory. Only 25 per cent of smokers agree that plain packs would put children off trying cigarettes.

The findings from online polling company Usurv will be encouraging to tobacco manufacturers in the UK and elsewhere. They come the day after a landmark ruling was made in the Australian high court forcing companies to sell cigarettes in olive green packages, featuring graphic anti-smoking warnings.

Lawyers have said the case could serve to strengthen convictions in the plain packaging proposals the UK government is currently considering.

More than eight in ten (85 per cent) of those polled said plain packaging would not serve to help current smokers quit, with just 12 per cent of smokers saying it would encourage them to give up the habit.

The majority of those surveyed (36 per cent) think that were a plain packaging rule introduced in the UK, this would only have a slight impact on tobacco companies’ profits. Just 14 per cent of people think it would have a “massive impact”, as some tobacco companies had feared.

Overall, less than half (46 per cent) of adults agree cigarettes should be sold in unbranded packets, with just a third (33 per cent) of young people aged between 18-to 29-years-old agreeing with the plain packaging law.

Usurv polled 1,000 people in the UK on 15 August, of which 36 per cent were smokers.

Guy Potter, director and market researcher at Usurv, says: “This is a hotly debated issue and our survey shows that the public is still divided with younger age groups less likely to support plans to outlaw branding on cigarettes.”

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