Cigarette smoking will disappear leaving problems for tobacco giants

Cigarette smoking is definitely on the wane, but no matter what restrictions and prohibitions are imposed by the government, some people are still going to smoke.  It seems that the burning question now is whether those who have never taken up the habit can be deterred from doing so by making the package less appealing.

In the 1960’s, the ratio of smokers to non-smokers in the U.K. was about 50/50.  Since all the health warnings began to have their effect, and smoking in public areas was banned in 2007, the ratio dropped to about 1/5 by 2008.  Tobacco companies were forbidden to advertise their products on billboards, print and television media and just about anywhere else.  Their marketing departments had to get creative, and one effective strategy was the introduction of a whole lot of different packaging on the same brand of cigarette.

There is a proposal in the works to squelch that avenue also, by requiring tobacco products to be presented in uniform packaging, no logos, no colours, nothing except the actual brand name and the ubiquitous warning that cigarettes can kill you.  ‘Plain packaging’ has been proposed in Australia and Canada but has not yet been initiated, and now the U.K. is preparing to try it, according to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Analysts at Citigroup have suggested that while making the package totally unexciting will probably reduce the number of ‘new’ smokers in their teens; it will not kill the tobacco companies, at least not yet.