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Unbranding the Cigarette

Emily Herrick

Australia was the first county to standardize branding of all cigarettes, in an attempt to reduce smoking among children, who will be next?

In December 2012, the country introduced the tough packaging laws, which banned branding and required graphic health warnings to cover 75% of the package.

The Australian study found that 30.6 % of smokers using plain packaging said that their cigarettes were of lower quality than a year earlier. And thats just changing the brand packaging.

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  • King George

    Well it really doesn't change much, people still smoke the more neglecting whatever cover the pack..Companies have even become smart to introduce cigarettes that have menthol so you can switch it both ways all in attempt to make consumers see it as a little healthier...

  • John Meguerian

    It doesn't seem like this will change much. Loyalty is still loyalty, it's driven by far more than packaging.

    Case in point, in NYC when packs were no longer allowed to say "Light" and were forced to switch to "Gold." People would continue to walk into bodegas and convenience stores and ask for Marlboro Lights, get handed the gold pack, and walk out. I feel it'll be the same even if the branding element is removed.

    In fact, it might make "your" brand even more significant, because you have to be asked about it rather than it being something that's just visually acknowledged.

  • Emily Herrick

    American tobacco companies are smart. They know how powerful brand loyalty is and that loyalty is comparable to the addictive nicotine. Although major attempts have been made to debunk the "cool" factor of smoking, it is still out there and the brands play right into that notion.

    I am afraid that this non-brand of cigarette will never make it to America, all though extremely good intentioned. America's consumerism is too extreme and the tobacco companies have too much power intwined with our government to ever allow the brand to disappear.

  • Rodrigo Mejia

    Brand loyalty is probably most rampant among smokers. I've been on those hunts looking for my brand, so did my father, so too my friends. I am curious what a removal of brands would do should it ever come to the U.S. Whatever the case, I'm behind this. Smoking is too often your brain convincing itself that no moment is complete without a cigarette.

    When actor Ewan Mcgregor quit smoking, he said what he loves most is being able to have a tranquil moment without the need to smoke, to be able to talk to a stranger without smoking. Thank you for the post, Emily.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      I've seen strange things done with cigarillos- mini cigars- they brand them like candy. I wish there could besomething like this hanging in front of an aisle of cigarettes. The shock value may just disturb people all together- the comparison of smoker's vs. non-smoker's lungs: My grandmother died of lung cancer after 20 years of not smoking. Unfortunately it was addiction vs the brand that got her.