The aim of health warnings on tobacco products should be to remind consumers of the health risks associated with smoking. These risks are already well known to the general public. Calls for extending tobacco packaging restrictions through measures such as plain packaging are not motivated by science or concerns about public health, but by ideology and politics. The argument that packaging restrictions work to deter minors from smoking is flawed.
In the EU, health warnings must cover 65% of a tobacco package’s surface.
No reasonable argument can be made that such coverage is insufficient to inform consumers about the health risks of smoking, and there is no evidence proving that further enlarging the required warning coverage would improve public health. Health warnings on packs should educate and remind people about the risks posed, but not shame adults who understand smoking’s health risks, are respectful of others, and opt to smoke by personal choice.
Plain packaging is being justified on the false premise of having an impact on smoking initiation. On the contrary, it represents a dangerous regulatory overreach, flying in the face of intellectual property (IP) rights and setting a dangerous precedent for government intervention by expropriating IP on the basis of ideology rather than science.
There is no credible evidence that plain packaging has an effect on tobacco consumption or smoking initiation.
Rather, its aim is to penalise smokers by creating a negative social stigma. Plain packaging regulation is an example of nanny state intervention and is not a reasonable public health measure.