Tobacco product developments in the Australian market in the 4 years following plain packaging

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Abstract

This paper aimed to identify continued and emerging trends in the Australian tobacco market following plain packaging implementation, over a period of substantial increases in tobacco taxes. Since 2012, our surveillance activities (including review of trade product and price lists, ingredient reports submitted by tobacco companies to government and monitoring of the retail environment) found several trends in the factory-made cigarette market. These include the continued release of extra-long and slim cigarettes and packs with bonus cigarettes, particularly in the mainstream and premium market segments; new menthol capsule products; other novel flavourings in cigarettes; filter innovations including recessed and firm filters; continued use of evocative and descriptive product names; the proliferation of the new super-value market segment; and umbrella branding, where new products are introduced within established brand families. Several similar trends were also observed within the smoking tobacco market. While not all of these trends were new to the Australian market at the time of plain packaging implementation, their continued and increased use is notable. Plain packaging legislation could be strengthened to standardise cigarette and pack size, restrict brand and variant names, and ban features such as menthol capsules and filters innovations that provide novelty value or that may provide false reassurance to smokers.

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