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June 3rd, 2012:

Should tobacco be sold in standardised packs? The answer is plain

Plain, standardised cigarette pack

A plain, standardised cigarette pack

Today we’ve publicly launched our new campaign: “The Answer is Plain”. We want to help raise awareness of the Government consultation into the future of tobacco packaging.

As announced a couple of weeks ago, the Government is discussing whether to replace brightly coloured and slickly designed packs with ones of uniform size, shape and colours, with large picture warnings on the front and back.

While it’s more accurate to call this ‘standardised’ packaging, it’s more commonly referred to as plain packs or plain packaging.

We strongly back this, and believe it will help reduce the appeal of tobacco to young people.

English composer George Lloyd once said: “The ancient Greeks have a knack of wrapping truths in myths.” Something similar could be said about tobacco packaging.

The colours, images, fancy fonts and glitzy designs wrap tobacco in a myth of coolness, a myth that it’s a product that promises pleasure, and the myth that smoking isn’t harmful.

The packaging helps hide and distract from the truth that tobacco will kill half of all long-term smokers. It’s a product full of poisons that harm those who smoke and those around them. Packs provide a veil behind which lies a devastating truth – more than 100,000 UK deaths every year.

We’ve released two things today that will help lift this veil. One is a report – The Packaging of Tobacco Products – which provides a review of tobacco industry documents that reveal its strategy around packaging as well as research into how packaging affects young people’s attitudes to tobacco.

The second is a short film which shows different groups of children talking about cigarette packs.

Both the report and the film provide reasons to end the ‘packet racket’ around tobacco.

Brand power

It’s hard-hitting stuff when you realise that every one of these kids is giving positive feedback about the packs. Pack designs are appealing and attractive to children.

Some people may not believe there’s a connection between the way tobacco is packaged and youth smoking. We say: read the report and watch the video to see the impact of packs on how children think about cigarettes.

Loud and outraged voices will inevitably argue against changing tobacco packs, voices that will say there is no evidence this will reduce smoking rates, that this isn’t legal, it’s the nanny state gone mad, this will turn the UK into a smugglers paradise.

We say that tobacco is uniquely dangerous. There is no safe level of smoking. Smoking kills and we should be doing all we can to make sure that the power of advertising is not used to lure another generation into a lethal addiction.

Some people may also question why we – a research organisation – are supporting plain packaging. It’s simple: our mission is to beat cancer, and smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of the disease. Preventing the next generation of smokers is vital to save lives in the future.

Our work has already been instrumental in helping reduce smoking rates in the UK. We helped fund the first study to show the link between smoking and lung cancer. It was the British Doctors Study, which was first published in 1952 and lasted for 50 years.

This landmark study helped changed attitudes, shape health policy, and ultimately was key in lowering the tobacco toll.

Support our campaign

Support our campaign against the ‘silent salesman’

The Answer is Plain campaign continues what started so long ago. More than 11,000 of our supporters have already backed the campaign. We hope even more will help bring about the end of the tobacco industry’s ‘silent salesman’ – the branded cigarette packet.

Please share the video, show your friends and family, and discuss the issue. It’s an important one and one we believe is worthwhile.

You can visit our campaign page and sign up to support plain packs.

We know that plain packs won’t stop everyone from smoking, but it will give millions of children one less reason to start smoking. And smoking is so dangerous that even a very small effect would save hundreds if not thousands of lives each year.


Paul Thorne is a press officer at Cancer Research UK

The Plain Truth

Download PDF : The_plain_truth_report

Silent Salesman

The silent


It is estimated that 73% of all

purchasing decisions made in

supermarkets in Europe are made

at the point of sale. The average

consumer has a choice of about

12,000 packages in each supermarket

and passes 300 items

per minute.

Packaging is the silent salesman, whispering in the shopper’s ear.

The role of packaging is to be the silent salesman, according to Vickie VanHurley, Ph.D. and Package Design Team Supervisor for Meijer.  Being a regular Meijer shopper, I recently reached out to Vickie to engage her in a packaging methodology dialogue.  Frankly, I wanted to know why they made the private label potato chip bag dark green. What was the insight?

But Vickie works in general merchandise, and while my question on chip insights goes unanswered for now, we had a great discussion on the role of insights in packaging.

Meijer moves fast in private brand product development, and Vickie’s team rarely has the luxury time to complete in-store testing. The company relies on the prowess of the entire team and its ability to write an insightful branding statement as the creative direction for any private brand packaging in the general merchandise area.

Vickie’s job is to interpret an emotional connection to desire for the product and translate it to the shopper via packaging as if she were the sales associate telling you the story at the point of purchase.  She wants you to feel something visceral, but she doesn’t get as much space as the ad and display designers. But working as a team gives her the opportunity to “nail it” on packaging, sometimes using just a wrapper.

So I journeyed to the aisles of Meijer to see what examples I could find of Vickie’s craft in action. And find them I did.  Although the temp outside was only 38 chilly degrees, I felt The Summer of Color connection in an warm and sunny manner. The silent salesman spoke to my desire to update my kitchen and linen closets with fresh, fun items to add pops of excitement to my summer entertaining. The entire concept was visually stimulating, from display to packaging to the products themselves. Even the beach towels were inspiring. Take a look at how integrated all of the elements are!

Well-balanced and so pretty!
Pretty enough to be a serving board.
The quality is really nice!
The package tag is as nice as a notecard inviting you to the beach house!
Ahh, yes, time to plan the vacation trip! I want this experience for my family.

Vickie’s team is doing a great job with the Katie Brown line of home accessories as well. The display and packaging instantly conveys a sort of stylized, rustic yet approachable vibe. “Simply at Meijer” and what look to be an updated version: “Keeping it simple at Meijer” is a nice packaging tagline that assures the shopper she’s going to get it right without too much fuss and distress. I also loved the cutout towel wrapper, allowing just one more hint of saturated color to peep through the cutout. That silent salesman is telling me that the up-market design cues are an important part of feeling good about buying home furnishings at Meijer.

This all but says “come on over to my home”
Wrap up and enjoy movie night in style!
Doing dishes is now a style statement. Sign me up!

I can’t wait to see more of what this team is up to. Vickie and her crew obviously get it when it comes to arming the silent salesman with what to say to shoppers without uttering one spoken word. They’ll show us more at the Shopper Insights conference in July. I hope they bring some sample products of the new DRINK line for the cocktail party!

The power of the packaging – How Lego, Heinz and Red Bull are using augmented reality technology

How Lego, Heinz and Red Bull are using augmented reality technology

May 29, 2012

Related Links

By Steve Osborne, Managing Partner, Osborne Pike

Packaging was once famously dubbed the ‘silent salesman’, a reference to its role as a mute object which nevertheless tells a powerful story.

By adding layers of emotional storytelling to an often generic product inside, packaging is responsible for creating what I term user anticipation. This is far more than being reminded of advertising for the brand. By its very proximity to the product, packaging is also able to perform an almost magical trick known as sensation transference, where the perceived attributes of the pack (elegance, clarity, naturalness, slimness etc) become transferred to the perception of the product, and the brand. In other words, how smoothly your scotch pours from the bottle will actively influence how smooth you think it tastes.

But with new digital technologies such as augmented reality now being applied to packaging, it is perhaps time to see it in a more contemporary way: as a user interface and a major part of the user experience.

Lego was one of the first brands to use fledgling augmented reality technology to allow consumers a 360º view of the finished model, simply by scanning the pack with a smartphone.

Digital enhancements permit truly immersive storytelling, such as Ardaich’s use of augmented reality to illustrate its defining theme of ‘the water that whisky drinkers choose’. The bottle (or in this case an image of the bottle) tells the story, and then bottles it back up afterwards, so it truly does augment the impression of what is contained inside.

This successfully extends the concept of sensation transference described earlier and opens the door to a new world of packaging-based user experiences.

The digital touch also gives consumers reasons to keep coming back for more – as with Heinz Tomato Ketchup’s use of blippar technology on-pack, to inspire Ketchup lovers with a virtual recipe book.

As designers and brand owners explore the possibilities that augmented reality technologies can unlock, packaging is gaining the potential to communicate brand values at a new, heightened level.

Suremen have transformed their deodorant cans into game controllers which, when pointed at a webcam, let (freshly deodorised) players face a range of adventurous challenges from mountain biking to water skiing, all in a bid to win cash prizes or sports gear.

Canada’s Lassonde have also done this with their Oasis brand, using augmented reality to turn the Tetrapak juice carton into a virtual goalkeeper in the Oasis All-Stars soccer game.

Meanwhile Red Bull encourage drinkers to collect their cans and line them up to create a virtual racing track. Using an iPhone to photograph the front of the cans for calibration, an app generates a virtual version of the track which can then be raced with a virtual car – probably one of the clearest incentives to consume more product I have yet encountered.

Digitally enhanced packaging is changing the way we experience products and brands. It is adding to the user anticipation and user experience that great packaging already delivers. But it needs to take care that it enhances what the brand already stands for, not replaces it with a short-term technology hit.

In Thomas Hine’s book, The Total Package, Hine reminds us that ‘advertising leads you to temptation, but packaging is the temptation’. With the possibilities afforded by new digital technologies, these two media could effectively become combined in self-promoting packaging. Hardly the silent salesman anymore then, but for those occasions when the design aesthetics are more than enough, I hope they remember to add an ‘off’ button.

Plain Tobacco Packaging: A Systematic Review

Download PDF : LinkClick

Tobacco Plain Packaging Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1)

Download PDF : C2011A00148

Download PDF : F2011L02644

The display that cost a retailer A$400,000

At what point do air travellers leave NSW? Once they have passed the immigration checkpoint or when their plane crosses the border? This question became the central point of conjecture in a landmark legal case that has cost Sydney Airport’s duty-free retailer a record A$400,000 fine for displaying cigarettes against state tobacco laws.

The NSW Department of Health took the owner of Downtown Duty Free to court after an inspector found more than 250 cartons of cigarettes on display in its ”airside” outlet, the Mega B walkthrough store, in December 2009. Downtown Duty Free insisted the departures area is a ”Commonwealth place”; the department argued that while the federal government regulates the airport, NSW laws apply inside.

Three subsequent inspections up to March last year found tobacco products, including cigars, displayed on open shelving at Mega B.

The department found the displays breached the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 and its stringent rules against advertising tobacco.

Supreme Court documents show the Zurich-based Nuance Group, the owner of Downtown Duty Free – which eventually pleaded guilty to breaking the law – said section 16 of the act did not apply on constitutional grounds. Section 16 states a person ”must not, in New South Wales … display a tobacco advertisement”.

The company argued the store was not in NSW for regulatory purposes and should therefore be regulated by the Commonwealth Tobacco Act. Its compliance officer believed that under that law tobacco could be displayed in a certain format and remain within the law. Photos taken by a health inspector, Michael Cassidy, show the store placed health warnings above the displays.

In advice to the court, experts from the department of the NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, advised that Nuance Group was mistaken. ”If Nuance’s submission were to be accepted, it would follow that it was lawful under the Commonwealth Tobacco Act to promote or publicise tobacco products through the use of large-scale collages or sculptures composed entirely of tobacco packaging.”

Mr Smith’s department said it was ”untenable” to suggest the federal law operated to the exclusion of the state law in any case, saying the ”legislative intention was plainly that the two schemes operate in parallel”.

Justice Peter Hall found the department had proved the walkthrough outlet was a ”public place” in NSW and open to airside workers.

In fining Nuance $337,500 plus $50,000 in legal costs to the department, he said a warning of deterrence must be sent to tobacco retailers. Nuance declined requests for comment.

Quitting smoking in the genes,74827.asp

Last updated: Friday, June 01, 2012 Print

Smokers’ genes may help predict whether they’ll respond to drug treatments for nicotine addiction, a new study indicates.

Researchers analysed data from more than 6 000 smokers in community-based studies and a clinical treatment study and found that the same gene variations that make it difficult to stop smoking also increase the chances that heavy smokers will respond to nicotine-replacement therapy and drugs that reduce the craving for nicotine.

“People with the high-risk genetic markers smoked an average of two years longer than those without these high-risk genes, and they were less likely to quit smoking without medication,” study first author Dr Li-Shiun Chen, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis, said.

“The same gene variants can predict a person’s response to smoking-cessation medication, and those with the high-risk genes are more likely to respond to the medication,” Chen said.

How the study was done

In the clinical treatment study, smokers with the high-risk variants were three times more likely than those without the variants to respond to treatments such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin is one brand) and other drugs used to help people stop smoking.

The findings, published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggest it may eventually be possible to analyse smokers’ genes in order to predict if they’ll benefit from drug treatments for nicotine addiction.

“Smokers whose genetic makeup puts them at the greatest risk for heavy smoking, nicotine addiction and problems kicking the habit also appear to be the same people who respond most robustly to pharmacologic therapy for smoking cessation,” senior investigator Dr. Laura Jean Bierut, a professor of psychiatry, said.

The gene variants in this study aren’t the only ones involved in whether a person smokes, becomes addicted or has difficulty quitting, but they are an important part of the overall nicotine-addiction puzzle, the researchers said.

“These variants make a very modest contribution to the development of nicotine addiction, but they have a much greater effect on the response to treatment,” Bierut said. “That’s a huge finding.”

Read more:
What makes you smoke?

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.
(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

Alberta Tories accepted donations from tobacco company

Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government was accepting thousands of
dollars in donations from a tobacco company while it was preparing to sue
the tobacco industry for $10 billion in health care costs, CBC News has

Financial records filed with Elections Alberta and obtained by CBC News
show that in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011, the PCs accepted $23,575 in
donations from National Smokeless Tobacco Ltd., distributor of products
like Skoal and Copenhagen. The company didn’t donate to the party in 2008.

The PC party still accepted donations in 2011 even as the government was
facing pressure to sell investments in tobacco companies and developing its
tobacco reduction strategy.

“Is this why the government took so long to go to court against the tobacco
companies?” asked Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman. “To be
gentle it’s an irony. To be more fierce about it, it’s a hypocrisy.”

National Smokeless Tobacco also donated $850 to Wildrose last year.

Les Hagen, the director of anti-tobacco group Action on Smoking and Health,
says political parties should return the money and stop accepting donations