Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Tobacco Control

UK government’s delay on plain tobacco packaging: how much evidence is enough?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 31 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4786
  1. Crawford Moodie, senior research fellow123,
  2. Linda Bauld, professor of health policy13,
  3. Martine Stead, deputy director1
  1. 1Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
  2. 2Centre for Tobacco Control Research, University of Stirling
  3. 3Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Stirling
  1. C.S.Moodie{at}, Linda.Bauld{at}, Martine.Stead{at}

Early findings from Australia add to a rapidly growing body of research

In the wake of the UK government’s announcement on 12 July that its decision on plain (standardised) tobacco packaging would be delayed until evidence emerged from Australia, Wakefield and colleagues report timely findings from a study exploring the early effects of plain packaging in Victoria.1 2 Conducted during the phase-in period, when plain and branded packs were concurrently on sale, the study found that smokers who used plain packs were more likely than smokers who used fully branded packs to perceive their cigarettes to be less satisfying and poorer quality, were more supportive of plain packaging, and were more likely to think about and to prioritise quitting.

These findings extend what was already known about standardised packaging but in a market where plain packs are now on sale. That the appearance of packs influenced users’ perceptions of the products is supported by the systematic review commissioned to inform the UK government’s consultation on standardised packaging,3 as well as …

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