Plain cigarette packages don't deter smokers

Replacing branded cigarette packages with plain ones won't stop people from taking up the habit - in fact, it might result in increased sales, a new report reveals.

According to, data from Australia - the only country to have introduced plain cigarette packaging - shows that a lack of branding means smokers no longer care if they're buying expensive brands or not. This means they opt for the cheapest product and therefore can afford to buy more cigarettes. As such, Australia recorded the first increase in cigarette sales for five years.

A year after plain packaging was introduced in the country, sales rose by 0.3 per cent. Loose tobacco proved to be particularly popular, with sales rising by 3.4 per cent after the roll out, reports

Deborah Arnott, director of Action on Smoking and Health, says this is just another attempt to dismiss the idea that plain packaging could be beneficial.

"The number one reason for standardised packaging is to protect children," she explains. "It is about dissuading them from taking up smoking - and one year's data from Australia about delivery of tobacco tells us nothing about that."

However, Eoin Dardis, director of corporate affairs for tobacco firm Phillip Morris, says the fact that people smoke more when their cigarettes are unbranded is important and needs to be looked at further.