Introduction of uniform packaging in the world. In red, the countries in which the regulations have been introduced are marked with pink, those that are working to introduce uniformity.
Unification of tobacco and liquid boxes
The unification of tobacco packaging in Australia has not changed trends in tobacco consumption, and at the same time the grey marketplace has developed. According to data published by the Australian Department of Health, within 34 months from the introduction of the regulations (December 2012 – September 2015), the percentage of smokers has decreased due to their introduction by about 0.55 pp. (Total number of smokers decreased by 2 percentage points in this period, which was also influenced by, among others increases in excise duty and sociodemographic factors).
At the same time, studies carried out after the unification of packaging have shown that consumers believe that cigarettes packaged in standardised packaging have a poorer taste. According to other studies, the number of smokers increased by 57,000 after the introduction of restrictions. Tobacco smuggling from Asian countries has increased and the share of contraband in the overall market is estimated at 13%. This is also related to an increase in excise duty by 25%, which occurred in parallel with packaging standardization.
In the UK, it is estimated that standardised packaging could lead to a 300 000 fewer people smoking tobacco. At the same time, the World Health Organisation warns that uniformity is not a magic solution and must be applied in parallel with the ban on tobacco advertising and higher taxes. About modern liquid boxes read here:
Restrictions on the appearance of tobacco packaging have triggered protests by tobacco companies. There have been various attempts to prevent uniformity by fighting in the courts. Producers, including British American Tobacco, Imperial, Japan International and Philip Morris International, argued that the imposed packaging design violates human rights and intellectual property rights. The introduction of uniform packaging has led to the processes of tobacco manufacturers.
In the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court did not accept an appeal against the decision ordering the uniformity of packaging. The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association challenged the decision that the uniformity of packaging was due to dogmatic attitudes rather than hard facts. In France, the producer companies protested, symbolically covering cameras capturing the speed limit with their refuse bags, arguing that deprivation of revenue from tobacco products sold could therefore be compared to budget losses caused by the lack of revenue from excise duty.
Tobacco manufacturers try to circumvent regulations by fighting price warfare and placing appropriately designed stickers with the price on the packaging, which is also a violation of the provisions of the law. Another strategy is to change product names, e. g. the use of the word „real” intended to suggest a product of full taste.