Authors: Crawford Moodie and Gerard Hastings
The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act (TAPA), introduced between 2003 and 2005 in the UK, prohibits all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Packaging, however, is not covered in the Act. Two strands of a long-term audit (trade press review and panel of smokers) are examined to monitor change in tobacco packaging from January 2002 to January 2009. The trade press provides numerous examples of value based (altered pack size or price marked packaging), image based (altered pack design) and innovation based (pack additions or modifications) packaging. Some examples of value, image and innovation based packaging are reported in the trade press from 2002 to 2004, but mention of all three forms of packaging increases markedly from 2005 onwards, as other forms of marketing were restricted. These developments have been observed by a panel of smokers, from across the UK, who have been particularly attentive to, and aware of, value based packaging. Packaging has become an increasingly important promotional tool for the tobacco industry as other channels have been shut off. It is clear therefore that any comprehensive and consistent tobacco strategy should include a mandatory move to generic packaging.