Open pack of cigarettes on old wooden table

There are roughly 2.5 million smokers in Hungary. The EU country has been incrementally increasing tobacco taxes for the last few years, and recent findings of joint research by Pulzus Inc. and economic news portal napi.hu, found that reactions to the tax increments vary. “23% of smokers claimed that this increased price was already too high, and would quit smoking. 10% said they would switch to the rolling of cigarettes. This is something the government foresaw too, as a result, it raised the price of fine-cut tobacco too although it had fulfilled EU regulations previously. 8% would switch to some kind of e-cigarettes, 22% however, insisted they wouldn’t quit smoking despite the hikes. 37% said they had previously looked for an alternative (rolling or e-cigarettes).”

Meanwhile, the EU and the Hungarian state keep pushing to further tobacco restrictions and a regulation requiring that cigarette packs are only sold in plain packaging is to go in effect this January. An article on Hungary Today highlighted that some restrictions were already in place, for example it is already forbidden to claim that any product is additive-free, or anything else to suggest that a product is less harmful, on packets. While appealing product features such as flavours have also been dropped.

Aiming to eliminate the attractiveness of cigarettes

Last year, Turkey’s head of the Tobacco and Alcohol Department of Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, Yüksel Denli, said that Turkey was to become the seventh nation to standardize cigarette packaging, after France, the U.K., Ireland, Norway, Canada and Australia.

Denli explained that the regulation aims to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products and deter smokers by increasing the size of visual health warnings on packaging. “The cigarette sales sections in the markets have a combination of appealing elements that encourage, especially young people, to use them,” he said. “With plain and standard packages, we aim to eliminate their attractiveness.”

In Turkey, the new tobacco packaging is now of the same color with a standard font for brand names and other necessary information, but will carry no logos or other distinctive marks. Graphic health warnings, including 14 new warning labels, will cover 85% of the packaging surface area, whilst featuring the 171 quitline.

Big Tobacco Uses Gimmicks to Bypass Plain Packaging Rules

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