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Institute for Global Tobacco Control

IGTC Releases Plain Packaging Guide

May 2020


The growth of plain and standardized tobacco packaging efforts, largely in high income countries, prompted the Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) to publish "Advancing Tobacco Plain and Standardized Packaging in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Advice from Experts." This guide includes interviews with almost two dozen researchers, advocates, and government officials from nine countries that already implemented plain and standardized packaging to provide a roadmap for tobacco control advocates in low- and middle-income countries looking to implement these tobacco packaging requirements.

Plain PackagingThe release of the report comes as IGTC prepares for World No Tobacco Day on May 31. Because tobacco companies use packaging as a way to attract youth, the report connects to the WNTD 2020 theme of protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from using tobacco and nicotine products.

The findings highlight the global support network that formed following the implementation of plain and standardized packaging in Australia in 2011 and the information sharing that occurred as subsequent countries advanced similar requirements. The report also details common themes, research, and practices that took place in these countries as well as recommendations for how to advance plain and standardized packaging in your country.


"Tobacco packs can be colorful, attractive, and come in exciting flavors, shapes and sizes. Plain and standardized packaging removes the potential for companies to use these attractive elements as marketing tools to attract young consumers," said Joanna E. Cohen, IGTC Director.  "This guide can direct advocates to resources such as the Plain Packaging Toolkit website developed by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and information available from The McCabe Center for Law and Cancer in Melbourne, Australia, and The Cancer Council Victoria (Australia) to support their efforts."

Advocates seeking to expand tobacco packaging requirements in their country can use the information from these interviews to help guide their tobacco control efforts.

"We wanted the guide to provide recommendations on critical research components, including study designs, study populations, and relevant research questions for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) looking to pursue plain and standardized packaging," said IGTC Research Program Manager Michael Iacobelli, lead author of the guide.