10-stick cigarette packs no longer cool following bans

10-stick cigarette packs no longer cool following bans
PHOTO: Reuters

PETALING JAYA - Ten-stick "kiddie pack" cigarettes are becoming increasingly unpopular following their ban in several countries.

The United Kingdom banned the sale of such packs in May last year with the introduction of tough new laws to curb smoking.

The new laws mandated that each pack must contain at least 20 sticks in order to have room for health warnings.

A ban on "lipstick-style" packs, aimed at women, was also included under the UK's new laws.

In the United States, new rules restricting the way the tobacco industry can advertise and sell its products were introduced in 2010.

The rules focused mainly on the industry's marketing efforts that were designed to appeal to children and teenagers.

Among the rules was the prohibition of the sale of cigarettes in packs of fewer than 20.

The move thus eliminated "kiddie packs" in the United States as well.

Ireland, meanwhile, banned such packs in 2007.

The country's then Minister for State Sean Power said the abolition would help stop children experimenting with smoking.

"The majority of smokers become addicted in their childhood and teenage years, and research has clearly shown that price is an important factor in young people deciding to smoke," Power was quoted as saying.

The earliest known ban on "kiddie packs" was by the state of South Australia in 1986. The ban was subsequently expanded to cover the whole country.

The Tobacco Atlas, a publication of the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation, disputes an argument by the tobacco industry that introducing a minimum 20-stick pack size will force consumers to switch to cheaper illegal cigarettes.

The publication cited the example of Finland. More than 15 per cent of all cigarettes smoked were in packs of fewer than 20 sticks in the mid-2000s, and the smaller packs were banned in 2008.

"As indicated by seizure data, there is no sign that the ban was followed by an increase in (the) illicit cigarette trade," the publication said.

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