Smoking: The future of product packaging

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) supports the call from the Secretariat of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that requires tobacco products to have plain packaging and graphic warning signs.

Plain packaging is an important reduction measure, making tobacco products less attractive, restricting the use of tobacco packaging to be used as a form of advertising and limiting  misleading packaging and labelling. And the use of graphic (pictorial) package warnings will show the serious harmful effects of tobacco use.

Plain packaging restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information. Other countries that have implemented plain packaging are UK, Northern Ireland and France who all passed laws to implement plain packaging as from May 2016. Tobacco consumption in Australia decreased by 13% in the three years since plain packaging was introduced.

Tobacco is one of the world’s biggest killers

Elize Joubert, CANSA’s CEO says, “We’re pleased that the South African Government has already worked on a draft bill to this effect. Tobacco remains one of the biggest killers in the world, albeit in the form of cancer or other tobacco-related diseases. So as part of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on 31 May, we welcome the stand that the country is taking against tobacco use with plain packaging.”

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Tobacco consumption in Australia decreased by 13% in the three years since plain packaging was introduced

E-cigarettes and other harmful tobacco products

“There’s a misconception, (especially amongst the youth) that cigarettes are the only form of smoking that can be harmful to your health and that is not true,” says Jobert, “Cigarette smoking isn’t the only harmful smoke – hubbly bubbly, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (such as snuff, chewing-tobacco and ‘snus’) is also harmful to your body.”

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are not a safer option to smoking. They may contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, and it does not make it easier for people to quit smoking. The marketing of e-cigarettes is of major concern, especially as it’s aimed at the youth to promote nicotine addiction and tobacco use. A hubbly bubbly/hookah smoker actually takes about 100 puffs in a single session (45 min), while a cigarette smoker takes 10 puffs. So, smoking one hookah can give as much nicotine as smoking 10 cigarettes, and no, the water does not filter out the toxic substances and chemicals.

Quitters are winners

“We want people to make educated choices when it comes to smoking, and also about smoking in the presence of other people. As a non-smoker, you run the risk of being exposed to second-hand smoke, which is also harmful to your health,” says Joubert.

To encourage people to quit the habit, reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and reduce their cancer risk, CANSA runs an eKick Butt programme which you can sign up for at

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.