smoking is not a recent trend. It has been practised since about 5000 BC, in various religious and cultural rituals, by the different Ancient American civilizations, the Mayans, the Incans, and the other tribes in Peru and Ecuador. They used tobacco leaves from the wild-growing tobacco tree, ground them into powder, and inhaled the smoke produced by burning them. You might ask, how did a ritual from a secluded ancient community become a worldwide phenomenon?
In the 16th century, the European nations came to the shores of the undiscovered lands. The explorers from Spain, Great Britain, and Holland, etc. laid claim to the ground. Here they discovered the locals smoking. After experimenting with the newfound discovery, the foreigners decided to sell it to the people in Europe. The tobacco business was thus born. And it soon grew to be one of the most common trading substances in the colonial world.
The addictiveness of this new substance led to increased sales. Smoking became to be regarded as a positive societal practice and became prevalent. However, it was not until World War 1 that we saw millions turn to tobacco and become smokers, and the trend continued to grow, regardless of age, time, gender, or race.
Smoking and stats
With the rapid modernization of farming techniques and production processes, cigarettes became better and more widespread, especially with the introduction of better storage in the form of cigarette boxes. And this trend of increased sales due to the nature of the product has led to the establishment of the thriving and colossal tobacco industry, valued at about a mind-blowing $1000 billion.
Nearly 45 million people in the US smoke, 5 million of them being students. Roughly half a million Americans die of smoking every year, while 16 million suffer from the diseases caused by smoking. These diseases include lung and mouthy cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and many others. Every year, medical services pay 170 billion dollars to treat patients. The most alarming statistic is that every single day, 2000 people in the US alone start smoking.
Cigarettes and packaging:
It is not just about simple cardboard boxes; it is what helps the tobacco rolled in paper, to be distributed far beyond the walls of the factory. It provides the product with protection from any factors like sunlight, moisture, and microbes like fungus. It helps in the adequate storage of the product, in a warehouse, on a retail shelf, or with the customer themselves.
The product packaging has another significant use, apart from the protection, transport, storage, and sale of cigarettes. The box id highly customizable, a trait that is used by tobacco companies like Marlboro, Dunhill, and Davidoff, etc., to promote their brand image. Custom packaging designs and printing help a company to build a brand image and differentiate their items from their competitors.
In short, the wrapping is essential for a cigarette coma pant to sell their commodities.
Role of printed boxes in, effective advertising
The custom printed boxes are the primary source of advertisement and promotion for these companies. Considering the strict limits placed on smoking ads on public media like TV, social media and newspapers, etc., tobacco companies have to rely on the packet to help set up their brand image and boost sales. Large brands use attractive designs, colours, and brand stories effectively to compel people to buy their products. Identities like John Player and Joe Camel were used to attract teenagers into buying cigarettes.
However, increasing pressure from the anti-smoking lobby has led to many changes to this trend. In most European countries, brand-specific wrapping has been banned completely. The World health organization passed a resolution that asks governments to ensure that the cigarette packets do not promote smoking, instead be used to prevent it. For this purpose, the previous brand labels have been removed, and the boxes are printed with just the product name and company. This has led to a reduction of about 7% in the number of new smokers in the US.
The printing designs have been shifted from aiming to attract people, to warn them about the health risks of smoking. Enlarged and graphic pictures of the body parts disfigured by diseases like mouth cancer, gangrene, and other tobacco-induced health issues are used. By putting a broad view of the health risks, that covers about half of the box, with an ample printed warning by the government and standardized company name in regular fonts; all of these factors combine to make the packet less appealing.
Called “plain packaging,” this new printing idea has led to a significant reduction in smoking trends amongst teenagers. If it continues, it will definitely reduce the number of people suffering from smoke-related illnesses. The boxes have health warnings issued by the government, like “cigar-smoking damages teeth and gums,” “Smoking kills,” and “smoking harms unborn babies.”
Combined with the mass campaign against the cigarette companies, to inform the public about the health dangers of smoking, this new form of package designing is bound to help decrease the number of people who smoke, or are thinking of starting.
Hence, we can see how cigarettes are harmful, and we need to stop their consumption. That is difficult owing to the nicotine that leads to severe addictiveness to the product. Therefore, we need to start targeting people who have yet not been addicted. The question is whether or not changing the printing on packets is compelling enough on its own?
It is not, and is one of the many steps needed to cure this issue of society. And for this purpose, the government and global health regulatory bodies are aiming to reduce the appeal of cigarettes created by advertising on media and the product itself, alongside widespread anti-smoking awareness campaigns. If successful, we will see a drop in the number of smokers, and consequently, a reduction in smoking-induced illnesses.