Table 1

Cigarette packaging and health warning labels (HWLs) in 2018 and 2020

CountryStatus of plain packaging legislationCigarette pack changes between surveys2018 Cigarette pack image and description2020 Cigarette pack image
CanadaImplemented in February 2020Removal of all branding


standardized shape, colour and size
Embedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image
SlimsKing sizeLicensed under Health Canada
  • HWLs (2012): 75% on the front and 75% on the back; 16 images.

  • Brand descriptors that infer lower risk are prohibited (eg, light, mild).

  • Branding permitted on bottom 25% of the pack.

  •  See online supplemental figure 1 for plain pack details.

  •  No changes to the HWLs.

AustraliaImplemented in December 2012No changesEmbedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image
Commonwealth of AustraliaCommonwealth of Australia
  •  standardized shape, colour and size.

  •  HWLs (2012): 75% on the front and 90% on the back; 2 different sets of 7 images.

  •  Brand descriptors that infer lower risk are prohibited (eg, light, mild).

  •  Colour brand variants are permitted.

USAHas not been proposedNo changesEmbedded ImageEmbedded Image
Embedded ImageEmbedded Image
  • HWLs (1985): 30% on the two principal sides of the package; 4 rotating warnings.

  • 100% branding permitted on the front and back.

  • Canadian cigarette pack images: branded cigarette pack images (2018) are from the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins University website (https://globaltobaccocontrol.org/tpackss/special-collections/country-pack-search/Canada), and the plain package was provided and approved for use by Health Canada; Australia’s plain pack image was provided and approved for use by the Australian Government Department of Health. (US images are owned by coauthor DH.)