Plain cigarette packs ‘encourage smokers to quit’

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Selling cigarettes in unbranded packs makes tobacco less appealing and encourages smokers to quit, according to a new study.

A new study, published in the BMJ Open, looked at the impact of the policy on 536 smokers in the state of Victoria in Australia – the first country to introduce plain packaging.

Researchers polled a sample of smokers during November 2012 when plain packs were already available in the run up to the country-wide introduction of the legislation.

Almost three out of four (72.3%) were smoking cigarettes from plain packs while the remainder (27.7%) were still using branded packs with smaller health warnings.

Compared with branded pack smokers, smokers using plain packs were 66% more likely to think their cigarettes were poorer quality than a year ago and they were 70% more likely to say they found them less satisfying.

They were also 81% more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day during the previous week. And plain pack smokers were 51% more likely to back the plain pack policy than were brand pack smokers.

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