About the Campaign

Why the Prime Minister should say no to plain packaging of tobacco


The case for standardised packaging of tobacco is based on the fallacy that children are attracted to smoke because of exposure to so-called "colourful" or "glitzy" packaging, and that without branding far fewer children or young people would be tempted to start. This argument is based not on hard fact but on speculation and conjecture. There is no credible evidence that standardised packaging will have any effect on youth smoking rates.


Plain packaging represents another step towards a nanny state in which adult consumers are increasingly infantilised by politicians who don't trust people to make decisions for themselves. The health risks of smoking are very well documented. Cigarette packs are hidden from display in all large stores and this policy will be introduced in smaller convenience stores from 2015. Cigarette packs already have large graphic health warnings and in 2016, following the adoption of the European Union's revised Tobacco Products Directive, the warnings will cover 65 per cent of the front and back of the packet. Isn't that enough? Why do we need plain packaging as well?


As consumers we are concerned about the slippery slope. Once standardised packaging is introduced for tobacco it is inevitable the policy will be considered for other potentially unhealthy products. The treatment of smokers is setting a dangerous precedent because the same tactics can now be applied to consumers of other products. How long will it be before public health campaigners call for alcohol, fatty food, sugar or even confectionery to be sold in plain packaging?


We don't want children to smoke. Smoking should be a choice for informed adults only and we support all reasonable measures that prevent or discourage children from purchasing or consuming tobacco. The proposal to introduce standardised packaging is neither reasonable nor justified. There is no credible evidence to suggest it will work. If government really wants to protect children from smoking it should seek tougher enforcement of existing laws and focus on further education in schools. Plain packaging is gesture politics. It won't stop children smoking and there are other more important issues that government should prioritise in 2014.

© 2014 Hands Off Our Packs