Cigarette’s name is mud: new sludge-coloured packaging introduced

The new packaging. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP

Instead of using bright colours to market their products, cigarette and tobacco makers are now limited to a greeny brown sludge colour for their packaging, following the introduction of new legislation on Thursday.

The measure is meant to make the product less attractive to (potential) smokers. Apart from brand names there will be nothing to distinguish the products from each other and the images of damaged lungs and other explicit pictures of smoking-related illnesses will remain a feature on the packaging.

The mud-coloured packaging has already been introduced in Belgium, the UK, Ireland, Hungary, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Research has shown that neutral packaging helps discourage smoking and makes the health warnings easier to read, the Dutch health ministry said.

‘In the Netherlands some 75 youngsters under 18 take up smoking every day,’ junior health minister Paul Blokhuis said. ‘It’s something they find attractive despite the risks to health and warnings. That is why I will continue my efforts to make smoking look as repulsive as possible. No colours and logos and boring packaging are an important step to a world in which no young person takes up smoking.’

Some 20,000 people in The Netherlands die each year from smoking or from inhaling the smoke of others. The new measure comes on top of a number of other measures included in the National Prevention Accord aimed at a smoke-free generation in 2040.

On April 1 the tax on tobacco went up, making a pack of 20 cigarettes €1 more expensive while on July 1 supermarkets were required to keep cigarettes out of sight. Tobacco and cigarettes containing menthol or other taste enhancers were banned in May.

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