2016: Get ready for plain packaging
Tobacco packaging is a mobile billboard promoting consumption of tobacco products. If you strip back the decoration, gloss and misleading elements of tobacco packaging, you are left with little more than a box of deadly, addictive products that kill approximately 6 million people a year and harm the health of many more. Plain packaging helps reveal the grim reality of tobacco products.
For World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2016, WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling on countries to get ready for plain (also called standardized) packaging of tobacco products.
The aims of plain packaging are to:
- reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products;
- eliminate the effect of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion;
- eliminate package design techniques that may suggest that some products are less harmful than others; and
- increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings.
The results of experimental studies, surveys and focus-group studies show that plain packaging achieves its objectives. WHO recommends that plain packaging be used as part of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control, which also includes comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and other tobacco packaging and labelling measures, such as health warnings.