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Plain packs make cigarettes 'taste worse'

Long-term smokers believe cigarettes in plain packs taste worse than branded cigarettes, researchers have discovered. 

The research from the University of Newcastle has been published a month after the government released proposals to introduce plain packaging in the UK. 

Researchers explored the experiences of smokers in Australia, where plain packaging has been mandatory since 1 December 2012

The study of 51 smokers, which was published in Health Education Research, found that participants could no longer tell the difference between brands, believing all cigarettes taste the same. 

Co-author and PhD candidate Ashleigh Guillaumier said the findings highlight the power of branding. 

She told the Guardian: “It's one of the main reasons that the tobacco industry fought so hard against the introduction of plain packs. 

“They have spent a lot of time building up their branding and know how influential it is on people's perceptions and experience of the product.” 

A recent review of standardised tobacco packaging found that branded packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to smoke". 

Sir Cyril Chantler advised that standardised plain packaging could lead to an important reduction in smoking.