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No lasting effects of plain packaging on cigarette pack retrieval time in small Australian retail outlets

One of the many claims made by the tobacco industry against Australia’s plain packaging legislation was that plain standardised packaging would make it harder for retailers to locate and retrieve packs for customers.1 ,2 The industry argued this would lead to substantially longer transaction times, customer frustration, security issues and, ultimately, loss of trade from smaller convenience to larger discount outlets.3

A real-world study of a panel of small retail outlets by our group aimed to investigate this claim. We found only a small, temporary increase in cigarette pack retrieval times immediately following plain packaging implementation on 1 December 2012.4 By the second week of December 2012, pack retrieval times had returned to levels that were no different to baseline months, as was the case for February 2013.

The pack retrieval protocol was repeated a …

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