The momentum is building for plain packaging.
Australia was the first country to eliminate branding on cigarette packages in December 2012 and now the UK will follow in May 2016. According to a report from the Canadian Cancer Society, 11 other nations have passed or have pending legislation and the EU has given the okay to its 28 member nations.
The World’s Smokers and Non-Smokers
A recent report from the World Health Organization tells us who is smoking less. All graphics that follow are from the WHO report, “WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2015.”
You can see where cigarettes are more affordable:
The darker shading on the following maps indicate non-smoking initiatives:
Health Warning Labels
Our Bottom Line: China
From the affordability graph through all of the maps, you can see a glaring omission. Nowhere do you see China engaging in meaningful tobacco regulation. An October article in the medical journal Lancet tells us that 68 percent of all Chinese men smoke. Although the proportion of women is vastly lower at 3.2 percent, their tobacco usage is “on the rise.” One possible incentive? As the world’s largest tobacco grower, manufacturer and consumer, the Chinese government has the monopoly and receives 7 percent of its revenue from tobacco taxes and sales.
With cigarettes a typical gift and a comforting conclusion to a good meal, smoking has remained an affordable social norm in China.