Fact not fiction: The truth behind the packaging

  • Myth #1

    There is no evidence plain packaging will work.


    Research and large scientific surveys from around the world indicate that plain packs are less appealing; make the health warnings more effective; and stop smokers believing that some cigarette brands are less harmful than others.

  • Myth #2

    Tobacco smuggling will increase because plain cigarette packs are easily counterfeited.


    There is no evidence that plain packaging will lead to an increase in the illicit trade in tobacco. Plain packs may not have the brand logos and colours, but they will still be required to have all the health warnings and other covert security markings – so they will actually be no easier to counterfeit.

  • Myth #3

    Plain packs will cause confusion and extra costs for small businesses.


    The main impact will be on reducing uptake amongst young people and not on current smokers. Which means sales will decline gradually and not overnight, allowing shops time to adapt. Research measuring over 5,000 'retail transactions' (the time shop staff take to find the right pack and hand it over), found that plain packs, if anything, reduced transaction times and selection errors.

  • Myth #4

    Tobacco is going to be put out of sight, so we don't need plain packs.


    Tobacco packaging will only be hidden in shops. Once outside, it will be on display and continue to work as the industry's 'silent salesman' advertising brands and promoting smoking to children.

  • Myth #5

    Isn't this going too far? Are other 'unhealthy' products going to be branded plain too?


    Tobacco is not like any other product. It is the only legal consumer product on the market which is lethal when used as the manufacturer intended. Plain packs for tobacco will not set a precedent for other consumer products.

Find out more about the effects of plain tobacco packaging

* This number reflects the total amount of people who have signed up to support the plain packaging of tobacco products, via the Plain Packs Protect Partnership (logos below), British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK websites.


play iconIn The News

Shopkeeper Mark Brackenbury explaining why he supports plain packaging, and how he doesn’t feel it will harm small traders. Watch the video above.


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The real facts about kids and smoking


Word on the Street What the public think about tobacco packaging.
Supporters Smoke Free South West ASH NI ash Ash Scotland Ash Wales British Heart Foundation British Thoracic Society – Stop Smoking Champions Cancer Research UK Cancer Focus NI Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Cut Films Faculty of Public Health Fresh Smoke Free North East National Heart Forum NCSCT The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Royal College of Midwives Royal College of Nursing Royal College of Physicians SmokeFree Lincs Smoke Free Life Solutions 4 health TCC Tobacco Free Future Trading Standards Partnership South West