A new review reveals just how susceptible we are.
Both France and Australia have made efforts to decrease smoking by requiring standardized packaging for tobacco. And a new review has found that such efforts may be successful.
A team of researchers from the UK and Canada analyzed 51 studies involving 800,000 people that examined the effects of standardized tobacco packaging. One study looked at data from 700,000 people in Australia before and after the uniform packaging was mandated at the end of 2012.
It found a half percentage point drop in people who still used tobacco after the packaging was introduced. Another two studies saw increases in attempts at quitting. (Here are stories of three people who successfully kicked the habit, and how they did it.)
Other studies didn’t quantify the number of people who actually quit but did find that people saw a decreased appeal in tobacco after the packing became homogenous, which encouraged the team of researchers.
Ann McNeill, lead author of the review and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, told News-Medical.net: “Evaluating the impact of standardized packaging on smoking behavior is difficult to do; but the evidence available to us, whilst limited at this time, indicates that standardized packaging may reduce smoking prevalence. These findings are supported by evidence from a variety of other studies that have shown that standardized packaging reduces the promotional appeal of tobacco packs, in line with the regulatory objectives set.”
Research on France wasn’t included in the study because its law on uniform packaging just went into effect at the end of 2016. But the French health ministry hopes to decrease smoking by 10 percent in the next five years.