"Plain packaging" regulations for tobacco products: the impact of standardizing the color and design of cigarette packs

Salud Publica Mex. 2010;52 Suppl 2:S226-32. doi: 10.1590/s0036-36342010000800018.


Tobacco packaging and labeling policies have emerged as prominent and cost-effective tobacco control measures. Although packaging policies have primarily focused on health warnings, there is growing recognition of the importance of packaging as a marketing tool for the tobacco industry. The current paper reviews evidence on the potential impact of standardizing the color and design of tobacco packages -so called "plain" packaging. The evidence indicates three primary benefits of plain packaging: increasing the effectiveness of health warnings, reducing false health beliefs about cigarettes, and reducing brand appeal especially among youth and young adults. Overall, the research to date suggests that "plain" packaging regulations would be an effective tobacco control measure, particularly in jurisdictions with comprehensive restrictions on other forms of marketing.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Product Packaging / standards*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco*