Many Smokers Quick to Accept Plainly Packaged Cigarettes, Study Finds

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MONDAY, Nov. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In an attempt to make smoking less attractive, Australia recently mandated that cigarette packs there be sold in plain wrappers with large, graphic health warnings.

Some anti-smoking advocates have pushed for similar packaging changes in the United States.

Now, a new study published online recently in the journal Tobacco Control finds that many Australian smokers have quickly accepted and supported the new packaging.

"Support for plain packs has greatly increased among Australian smokers since the implementation of the policy, with now only a minority of smokers remaining opposed," wrote a team led by Dr. Ron Borland of the Cancer Council Victoria, in Melbourne.

His team examined the findings of surveys conducted in Australia before and after plain cigarette packaging for tobacco products took effect in December 2012.

Support for plain cigarette packs among smokers rose from about 28 percent before the move, to 49 percent after plain cigarette packs were introduced, Borland's group reported.

Those most supportive of plain packs were those with a strong desire to quit, lighter smokers and those who believed they had a high risk of suffering future health problems from smoking, the survey results showed.

The international team of researchers also found that smokers who supported plain packs were more likely to attempt to quit.

Those least likely to support plain packs were heavy smokers and those who underestimated the risks of smoking, the researchers said in a journal news release.

Australia's plain cigarette packaging law has generated interest in other countries about introducing similar laws. These findings suggest that such policies would quickly be accepted by smokers in other countries, the study authors said.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.