Legislation to impose plain packaging is passing at speed through the Australian parliament, yet the Australian government openly admits it has no evidence the measure will deliver the goal of discouraging smoking by young people..
The removal of branding from packaging would neuter the many benefits of branding, not least that of differentiation. This is relied on by consumers and a precondition for competition on the basis of quality as well as price. Remove branding and the market becomes generic, with little incentive to innovate and competition based only on price. The result may be more people smoking more.
Let's learn lessons from Australia's foray into plain packaging, gauge how effective the new graphic health warnings are and assess the impact of the display ban before removing branding that is so crucial to markets.
John Noble, director, British Brands Group