Why tobacco companies are so nervous about plain packaging

The Singapore Government recently announced its plan to proceed with plain tobacco packaging, following in the footsteps of Australia, France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Hungary and Slovenia. That means that, as of next year, all tobacco packs sold in Singapore will be a drab brown colour with all logos, fancy colours and branding elements removed and yucky warning labels covering 70 per cent of the pack surface.

Plain packaging has created quite a stir for tobacco companies. In response to plain packaging, the tobacco companies have spent considerable time and money lobbying governments, suing governments, running anti-plain packaging campaigns and trying to sway public opinion.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2019, with the headline 'Why tobacco companies are so nervous about plain packaging'. Subscribe