Plain labels and packaging could reduce appeal of cigarettes among young women

25th April 2013 - Fine Cut

Plain cigarette packaging could be key in prompting young female smokers to quit, new research from Stirling University suggests.

As the government debates whether or not to introduce plain, standardised packaging on cigarette packs, researchers have carried out a study to determine exactly to what extent one of the key smoking groups - young women aged 20-24 - are influenced by labels, cancerresearchuk.org writes. 

In this particular group, smoking figures remain high, at 31 per cent and there has been minimal reduction in 25 years - with a drop of just four per cent. What's more, previous research discovered that public health campaigns have little impact on young women's smoking habits, thus emphasising the urgent need to find ways to discourage them from smoking.  

Lead author, Dr Crawford Moodie told scotsman.com that the tobacco firms cleverly appeal to young women by using packaging which is elegant, so they asked 187 young female smokers to use packs which featured plain brown packaging and gauged their responses.

The volunteers reported back that the plain packaging made them feel embarrassed and as a result, they smoked less often when around other people. The women also claimed to have stubbed out their cigarettes earlier, with some smoking less. Others contemplated giving up all together.

Dr Moodie concluded that the study: "offers an insight into how packaging could be used to help reduce the appeal of tobacco products rather than offering the tobacco industry a chance to market their product."

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