In the fight against smoking, the introduction of neutral packages in early 2017 should reduce the attractiveness of tobacco. A new French study seems to prove that the mission was carried out among young people from 12 to 17 years old.
As part of its tobacco control policy, France introduces neutral tobacco packaging on January 1, 2017. All packages have the same shape, the same size, the same color, the same typography, they are devoid of logos. and carry new visual health warnings that highlight the dangers of smoking. The goal is to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco, especially among young people between the ages of 12 and 17, who are more sensitive to marketing.
To assess the impact of this measure, in 2017, Inserm and the National Cancer Institute launched the study DePICT (description of tobacco-related perceptions, images and behavior). In this study, two different waves were surveyed, consisting of 6,000 people representing the general population (4,000 adults and 2,000 adolescents each time) – one immediately before the introduction of neutral packages, the other exactly one year later – on their perception of smoking.
In adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, the results of the study show that one year after the introduction of neutral packages:
- 1 out of 5 young people (20.8%) tested tobacco for the first time in comparison with 1 out of 4 (26.3%) in 2016, even taking into account their demographic and socio-economic characteristics. This decline is more pronounced among girls: 1 out of 10 (13.4%) compared with 1 out of 4 (25.2%);
- Young people are more likely to consider smoking dangerous (83.9% versus 78.9% in 2016) and report that they fear its effects (73.3% versus 69.2%);
- They are also less likely to say that their friends or relatives accept smoking (16.2% against 25.4% and 11.2% against 24.6%);
- Young smokers are also less tied to their brand of tobacco in 2017 compared to 2016 (23.9% vs. 34.3%).
According to the authors of the study, Maria Melchior and Fabienne El-Khoury,These results suggest that neutral packaging can help denormalize tobacco in young people and reduce their experimentation."They indicate that"the overall effect will be related to tobacco control policies, including the introduction of neutral packages, price increases and advertising, as well as awareness campaignsFuture research will focus on the impact of this information campaign on adolescent smoking.
Created on November 21, 2018
Regular tobacco packaging, increased health and perception of smoking: DePICT, a French nationwide study – Fabienne El-Khoury (available online)
Photo: © AFP PHOTO THOMAS SAMSON