Changing Cigarette Packaging

Does packaging make a difference? With the recent change in European regulations for cigarette packaging, the tobacco companies hope that packaging doesn’t matter, while consumer health advocates hope it does make a difference.

The change in Europe is new EU legislation that determines how tobacco products are manufactured, produced, and sold across Europe. The revised rules, named the Tobacco Products Directive, ban flavored cigarettes as well as describe standardized packaging of tobacco products to minimize the impact of brand images, logos, colors, and names. The result is a standard package with sickly colors, standardized font and text, and very unattractive images of how smoking impacts consumers’ health.

Since packaging is part of marketing and advertising, the new regulations remove brand features and increase the size and type of health warnings. It is hoped that the new packaging will reduce the attractiveness of smoking, particularly to young people.

Will the new packaging matter?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who smokes, how much, when did they start?
  2. Discuss the role of packaging in branding and advertising.
  3. View the EU Tobacco Products Directive Web site:
  4. View video about the directive:
  5. Discuss the new packaging with students. How might it impact consumer behavior? Would the new package change any of their habits?



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