France is contemplating a proposal to adopt plain packaging for cigarettes in order to tackle increasing rates of smoking in the country.
As per the figures released by the World Health Organization, around 31% of adults in France are regular smokers, positioning the country at third place in western Europe.
The country intends to enforce plain packaging as part of a law that would require cigarette brand names to be mentioned on the packages with standardised neutral lettering.
French Health Minister Marisol Touraine said the proposed law is aimed at reducing the number of smokers in France by 10% by 2019.
France’s University of Rennes conducted a survey in 2008 whereby 905 smokers and non-smokers were shown one out of six real cigarette packs and asked to answer different questions. According to the results, plain packs were found to be less attractive, compared with the ones being used.
Plain packs will also help in reducing the impact of cigarettes advertising and to influence behavioural intentions of smokers and non-smokers, says the government.
If the law is passed, cigarette packets would not display any logos, should be the same in size and colour, and would carry shocking pictures and slogans to deter smokers.
As cited in The Wall Street Journal, Australia was the first country to introduce plain cigarette packaging in 2012, while the UK is expected to come out with laws in favour of plain packaging before the country’s general election in May 2015.
Meanwhile, tobacco companies have lashed out at the new law, saying that it will be a clear case of intellectual property theft, besides increasing trade on the black market.