FRIDAY 4 APR 2014 11:36 AM


After years of deliberation, a politically-charged reference in the 2013 Queen’s speech and a precedent set in Australia and elsewhere in Europe, the UK has decided to move into the final stages of banning branding on cigarette packaging.

The controversial decision has been opposed by the international tobacco industry, which sought to prove that there was a negligible link between branding and youth take-up of smoking. Anti-smoking advocates pointed to research like that done by the University of Stirling Centre for Tobacco Control and a more recent government study to prove that branding has a direct correlation to child smoking.

Packaging design has huge impact and this decision will mean that cigarette companies will have to find new ways of communicating their unique selling points. NPD research is probably one area that cigarette companies will be investing in. The fact that legislation is making communications for cigarette companies harder and harder is positive and needs to progress to counteract loop holes that might be exploited,” Darren Foley, MD of global packaging and brand firm Pearlfisher, says.

This decision will put the proposed ban into the final stages of review before the ban is potentially put into place in May 2015. Public health advocates have made links between branding and the take-up of smoking by young people.

Foley says, "I am very pleased that this decision has finally been made. It is brand design that has the power to make brands and products hugely desirable and it is right that the main objective here should be one of removing all desirability associated with smoking.”

For more on the issue, see the following links:

Branding a major influence on smokers

Branding and lobbying implications of queens speech

Australian high court bans branding on cigarette packaging