Standardized Packaging

Governments are encouraged to adopt plain/standardised packaging of tobacco products, because it reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, eliminates tobacco packaging as a form of advertising, increases the noticeability and effectiveness of pictorial health warnings, and reduces youth initiation to tobacco use by restricting the tobacco industry’s ability to market to young people, encourages quitting among current tobacco users, and helps prevent ex-users from relapsing. This is in accordance with the Guidelines for Article 11 (packaging and labelling on tobacco products) and Article 13 (tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship) of the WHO FCTC recommend that Parties should consider adopting plain/standardized packaging to eliminate advertising or promotion, including design features that make tobacco products attractive.

Governments are encouraged to adopt standardised packaging of tobacco products to increase the effectiveness of packaging and labelling measures. This is in accordance with the Guidelines for Article 11 (packaging and labelling on tobacco products) and Article 13 (tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship) of the WHO FCTC recommend that Parties should consider adopting plain/standardized packaging to eliminate advertising or promotion, including design features that make products attractive.

Guidelines for Articles 11 and 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The WHO FCTC Guidelines for Implementation of Article 11 include, at paragraph

“Plain packaging”

  1. Parties should consider adopting measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style (plain packaging). This may increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings and messages, prevent the package from detracting attention from them, and address industry package design techniques that may suggest that some products are less harmful than others.

The WHO FCTC Guidelines for Implementation of Article 13 recognize that:

“15. Packaging is an important element of advertising and promotion. Tobacco pack or product features are used in various ways to attract consumers, to promote products and to cultivate and promote brand identity, for example by using logos, colours, fonts, pictures, shapes and materials on or in packs or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products.”

  1. The effect of advertising or promotion on packaging can be eliminated by requiring plain packaging: black and white or two other contrasting colours, as prescribed by national authorities; nothing other than a brand name, a product name and/or manufacturer’s name, contact details and the quantity of product in the packaging, without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government-mandated information or markings; prescribed font style and size; and standardized shape, size and materials. There should be no advertising or promotion inside or attached to the package or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products. 
  1. If plain packaging is not yet mandated, the restriction should cover as many as possible of the design features that make tobacco products more attractive to consumers such as animal or other figures, “fun” phrases, coloured cigarette papers, attractive smells, novelty or seasonal packs.

Recommendation

Packaging and product design are important elements of advertising and promotion. Parties should consider adopting plain packaging requirements to eliminate the effects of advertising or promotion on packaging. Packaging, individual cigarettes or other tobacco products should carry no advertising or promotion, including design features that make products attractive.

Guidelines for WHO FCTC
Article 11 (Packaging and labelling on tobacco products)

Article 13 (Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship)