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Row erupts over effect of plain packaging on smoking rates

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1269 (Published 20 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1269
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

A report from the Adam Smith Institute claiming that government plans to introduce plain packaging of cigarettes will not produce public health benefits, such as cutting the number of cigarettes that people smoke or reducing the prevalence of smoking, has been hotly contested by the antismoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

The institute’s report says that there is no evidence that the colour and logos on a packet of cigarettes encourage people to start smoking and that packaging design has little effect on smoking rates.

It warns that plain packaging could actually have detrimental effects, such as increasing the trade in counterfeit cigarettes, because the packaging will be easier to replicate. This would make cheap tobacco more readily available, …

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