HomeNews EventsNewsPlain packaging to counter youth-targeted marketing of tobacco products

Plain packaging to counter youth-targeted marketing of tobacco products

26 Feb 2019

(Photo by FreeImages.com/Miroslav S.)

The government recently passed the bill for standardised packaging for all tobacco products sold in Singapore. From next year, all tobacco packs will be a drab brown colour, with all logos, colours and branding elements removed, and graphic health warnings covering 70 per cent of the pack surface.

Packaging is an important marketing tool, especially in places like Singapore where tobacco advertising is heavily restricted. A tobacco industry executive, in internal industry communications, stated in 1994: “When you don’t have anything else – our packaging is our marketing.”

The move to enforce plain packaging is thus critical in reducing smoking initiation, especially among younger generations, wrote Dr Yvette van der Eijk, Senior Research Fellow, and Professor Chia Kee Seng.

Plain packaging strips away the ability for tobacco companies to use brands, logos, colours or other pack features to lure new smokers. Without branding elements, it is difficult for tobacco companies to establish brand salience in younger generations.

The new regulation will complement the current suite of tobacco control measures, such as the raising of minimum legal age and banning of point-of-sale displays, to reduce smoking rates in Singapore and bring us closer to achieving our vision of a tobacco-free society.

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