Citation Moodie C, Angus K, Mitchell D & Critchlow N (2018) How tobacco companies in the United Kingdom prepared for, and responded to, standardised packaging of cigarettes and rolling tobacco. Tobacco Control, 27 (e1), pp. e85-e92. https://doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054011
As a result of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations and Tobacco Products Directive, all packs of cigarettes (factory-made and hand-rolled) in the United Kingdom must be drab brown, display pictorial warnings on the principal display areas, and contain no less than 20 cigarettes or 30 grams of tobacco. The legislation was phased in between May 2016 and May 2017. Our objective was to monitor pack, brand and product changes pre- and post-implementation.
Our surveillance of the cigarette market involved a review of the trade press, a monthly monitor of online supermarkets, and regular visits to stores, from May 2015 to June 2017.
Pre-standardised packaging there were changes to the pack graphics (e.g. redesigned packs and limited-editions) and pack structure (e.g. re-sealable inner foil), and the issue of a number of re-usable tins. Post-standardised packaging, changes included newer cigarette pack sizes for some brand variants (e.g. 23 and 24 packs). Changes to the branding pre-standardised packaging included brand extensions, and post-standardised packaging included brand and/or variant name change, often with the inclusion of colour descriptors, and brand migrations. Product changes pre-standardised packaging included the introduction of novel filters (e.g. filters with two flavour-changing capsules, tube filters, firmer filters, and filters with granular additives). There was non-compliance with the legislation, with slim packs, which are not permitted, on sale after standardised packaging was implemented.
Our findings highlight the need to monitor developments in markets introducing standardised packaging, and have policy implications for countries considering this measure.
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health; Health(social science)