In Australia, which has some of the strictest tobacco legislation in the world, a law was passed two years ago that requires all cigarettes to be sold in the same plain packaging, with the name of the brand in the same font on every box. there seems to be no difference between say, a pack of Marlboros and a pack of Lucky Strike.
At present, tobacco products sold in this country must carry a government health warning, and most also carry a graphic photograph of diseased lungs to illustrate the dangers of smoking.
Anti tobacco group argue that these warnings do not do enough to deter people smoking or prevent young people taking up the habit. They argue that the distinctive branding which tobacco companies use to market their products are responsible for enticing new smokers. For example, a pack of Benson and Hedges is sold in shiny silver packaging, a cigarette brand called Vogue uses the name of a well known fashion magazine appealing to women, etc.
With cigarette advertising banned, the only option available for companies to market their products is through the packaging.
Until last year, the government appeared to oppose any requirement for plain cigarette packaging.
But Jane Ellison , the under secretary for public health, said that she was inclined to proceed with laws to standardize cigarette packaging and told ministers that if the rate of smoking by children was reduced even by 2 %, 4,000 fewer children would take up the habit.
New restrictions across Europe will increase the size of mandatory health warnings on cigarette packages. In February, the European parliament approved regulations to permit picture and text health warnings that would cover 65 per cent of the front and the back of the packs, and 50 percent of the sides.