While Australia has recently passed legislation to ban logos from cigarette packages and to make plain packaging mandatory, other countries are still considering whether or not to take similar measures. New research published in Biomed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health provides a report on the appeal of plain cigarette packs, compared to branded packs, among women in Brazil, and finds that plain packs reduce the appeal of their contents.
Tobacco use is responsible for 5.4 million deaths every year across the world and is a leading cause of preventable death. Like many other countries, Brazil has prohibited most forms of tobacco advertising, but has not addressed the issue of marketing by tobacco companies via the cigarette pack itself.
Research suggests that many brands appear to specifically target young women by use of 'feminine' colored packs, fruit flavorings, or by suggestive terms such as 'slim' or 'superslim'. Scientists from Canada, the US, and Brazil collaborated on this online study of 640 young Brazilian women to see if these cigarettes had the same appeal when presented in plain packaging (but still with the brand name and description on them). As a final test, the women were able to choose which they would have preferred as a free gift, one of the plain or branded packs (although there was never any intension for the packs to be sent out).