Each week, Packaging Gateway’s journalists select top tweets that summarise the social media buzz in our sector, underpinned by GlobalData’s analytics. These social media signals help us understand brand sentiments and the themes driving conversations on social platforms. This new, thematic coverage is driven by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.

The 30 days to July 29 saw a significant rise in industry discussion about the packaging of tobacco and tobacco products across social media during, GlobalData research has shown.

The increase was driven by a spike in posts during the first week of May as the Australian government confirmed a crackdown on vaping, including the banning of disposable vapes and of the import of non-prescription vaping products.

Under new laws, vaping products will only be available in pharmacies in pharmaceutical-like packaging and will be limited to certain flavours and colours.

At the time, the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, pointed to the prevalence of young vapers subsequently taking up smoking as one reason for the move.

However, sentiment across social media was mixed. Some were pleased to see tighter legislation, while others argued that the new laws would drive vape users to smoke instead, with cigarettes once again becoming the most accessible tobacco product.

Among these fears about the uptake of cigarettes being encouraged, there was discussion around the right approach to packaging tobacco products, with some support for the new, plain style.

The controversy drove social media discussion, prompting a 9.62% growth in sector focus online over the 90 days to July 29. That increased interest in tobacco product packaging was well above the growth of any other packaging sector.

As legislation around vaping is discussed worldwide, social media discussions look set to continue around the importance of packaging of tobacco products.

Canada has already banned e-liquid flavours besides tobacco, while Thailand has maintained a total ban on all vapes since 2014. The debate around vapes and cigarettes will continue, and packaging will remain a central element of the discussion.