Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Welcome to cardboard country: how plain packaging could change the subjective experience of smoking
  1. Melanie Wakefield
  1. Correspondence to Melanie Wakefield, Director, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; melanie.wakefield{at}

Statistics from

The Australian government's announcement that it will require all cigarettes sold from July 2012 to be contained in olive brown packages devoid of brand design elements except for their brand name in a standardised font and location1–3 recognises Australia's serious commitment as a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.4 The announcement of this world-first legislation was the subject of intense media coverage5 (see page 361) and the path towards its realisation has continued to come under incendiary attack from tobacco companies and allied front groups,6 who are desperate to prevent its implementation in Australia and replication in other nations.

While there is good evidence from experimental studies that plain packaging will reduce brand appeal, correct erroneous beliefs about the harms of smoking and increase the salience of health warnings on packs,6 Moodie and colleagues7 (see page 367) of this issue have added a new dimension to the literature and identified another possible benefit. Smokers were provided with plain brown packs labelled with a neutral brand name into which to decant their usual cigarettes for 2 weeks, and their experiences were compared with a 2-week period of smoking their cigarettes from branded packs. Although a small study with high attrition and incomplete compliance, the findings were notable. The experience of smoking cigarettes from plain brown packs was reportedly less enjoyable and less satisfying for smokers than those same cigarettes when …

View Full Text


  • Linked article 042986.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles