World No Tobacco Day (31 May 2016):Get Ready for Plain Packaging

Today is World No Tobacco Day. The theme this year is ‘Get ready for plain packaging’.

Key Messages:

Plain packaging: Packaging (of tobacco products) that is

  • “black and white or two other contrasting colours,
  • as prescribed by national authorities;
  • nothing other than a brand name, a product name and/or manufacturer’s name, contact details and the quantity of product in the packaging,
  • without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government-mandated information or markings;
  • prescribed font style and size; and standardized shape, size and materials.

There should be no advertising or promotion inside or attached to the package or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products.

The goals of plain packaging include:

  1. reducing the attractiveness of tobacco products;
  2. eliminating the effects of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion;
  3. addressing package design techniques that may suggest that some products are less harmful than others; and
  4. increasing the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings.

Why plain packaging?

Based on evidence generated in Australia, the Commonwealth of Australia implemented plain packaging in 2012. Between 2012 and 2015, plain packaging “reduced average smoking prevalence among Australians aged 14 years and over by 0.55 percentage points”.

Useful Links:

Link to the WHO World No Tobacco Day 2016 page:

Link to WHO’s fact sheet on tobacco (updated July 2015):

Link to WHO’s brochure on World No Tobacco Day 2016:

Link to WHO’s Youtube video on plain packaging:

Link to WHO Director-General’s Commentary on World No Tobacco Day 2016:


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