Newsflash! Kids Drawn To Bright Colours! Vital Research!

Tobacco companies are designing cigarette packs to resemble bottles of perfume or with lids that flip open like a lighter to lure young people into smoking.*

They are? Haven’t seen any myself.

Seems unlikely, wouldn’t you say, to put design time and effort into promoting a product to a customer base that can’t legally buy that product for many years to come?

Research published yesterday…

Hmmmm. Research, eh? By whom?

Cancer Research UK..

Ah. Say no more…

…. said the findings provided “a chilling insight” into the power of branding and marketing by the tobacco industry.

Do they really? Let’s have a look at what they actually show, then:

The research shows children aged from six to 11 are drawn to the slickly presented packs, responding with remarks such as, “It makes you feel you’re in a wonderland of happiness”, “It reminds me of a Ferrari” and “Yeah, pink, pink, pink.”

And how many of them smoke. Wait, don’t tell me, let me guess!

It’s ‘zero’, isn’t it?

Because all you’ve actually done there is prove that six to eleven year old children like bright colours. I think we already knew that, didn’t we?

Jean King, director of tobacco control for the charity, said: “Children are drawn to the colourful and slick designs without having a full understanding of how deadly the product is inside the pack. It is time to end the packet racket.”

First, sweetie, tell me how many six year olds are buying cigarettes because they are in shiny packets?

Eight focus groups of 15-years-olds assembled by the charity showed clear differences between boys and girls when asked to pick their favourite pack. Girls chose Silk Cut and Vogue Superslims which they related to perfume, make-up and chocolate. Boys preferred Marlbro Bright Leaf, Lambert and Butler and B&H slide packs which suggested maturity, popularity and confidence.

So what? They still can’t legally buy the things!

The charity has designed a standardised pack, coloured olive brown, carrying government health warnings and a covert marking as protection against counterfeiters. Teenagers shown the pack described it as “boring and smelly.” One said: “God, are my lungs this colour as well?”

And should this idea get off the ground, you don’t think they’ll simply use a cover for the packs, if they decide to take up smoking?

Have you been to a phone shop, lately, perchance?

Professor Robert West, director of tobacco research at University College London, said lighter coloured packs were perceived as healthier and the presence of branding reduced the impact of health warnings.


He said: “Tobacco companies claim they don’t market their products to children. But the truth is their products are attractive to children. This is about protecting children.”

NO! Idiot! The truth is their packaging is attractive to children! Not necessarily the product within them!

Good grief, is this what passes for science now..?

* H/T: Mark Wadsworth

13 comments for “Newsflash! Kids Drawn To Bright Colours! Vital Research!

  1. ivan
    April 28, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Isn’t this a case of ‘we keep on trying until we get the results we KNOW are correct’ type of science that is leading government policy today?

    These people are not, and never will be, scientists, they are social engineers and not very good engineers at that.

    A fake charity doing fake research giving fake results – just look at the words the kids are supposed to have said, especially teenagers. I call bullshit.

    • April 29, 2012 at 9:49 am

      And yet, it’s done it’s job. It’s got everyone talking about it.

  2. April 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Anyone who knows children will be taking this one with a pinch of salt; their focus groups cover the peak years for peer pressure even before you take into account any leading questions or reaction from researchers.

    In any case, tobacco manufactureres are not the only companies employing bright colours and gimmicky, childish packaging to appeal to an increasingly infantile generation of adults – take a look at cosmetics, perfume or even mobile phones (and apps) aimed at reasonably affluent twenty-somethings.

    With a depressing irony, the sort of thing we used to associate with childhood – bright colours, ‘cute’ designs and ephemera – are now as likely to be adopted by teenagers wanting to appear ‘grown-up’; the parameters have shifted so far that the reasoning behind this research is completely invalid.

    • April 29, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Good point!

    • April 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      mea culpa, I completely overlooked one potentially very significant influence – Sackerson has pointed out elsewhere that ‘IKEA may have got there first with primary colours, etc.’

  3. John
    April 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    What I find slightly ironic is that these people whitter on about banning tobacco advertising but on the other hand it’s quite clear that 30 years of anti tobacco advertising has had a minimal effect.

    Over 20% of the population still smoke. Go figure.

  4. Dave_G
    April 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Given the packets are to be sold from ‘behind closed doors’, how does the packaging add to the problem?

  5. Single Acts of Tyranny
    April 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    “when asked to pick their favourite pack. Girls chose Silk Cut and Vogue Superslims which they related to perfume, make-up and chocolate. Boys preferred Marlbro Bright Leaf, Lambert and Butler and B&H slide packs which suggested maturity, popularity and confidence”

    You could ask me which is my favourite handbag and skirt combo, doesn’t mean I am going to buy either one!

    • April 29, 2012 at 9:50 am


  6. Tattyfalarr
    April 29, 2012 at 3:03 am

    responding with remarks (about a cigarette packet !?!) such as, “It makes you feel you’re in a wonderland of happiness”

    Was that kid drug-tested ?? 😐

  7. April 29, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Making tobacco products ever more mysterious will probably add to their allure for younglings.
    As for eye catching packaging I took up smoking Players No 6 whose packets could only be described as dull.

  8. Monty
    April 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t know how long ago it was, that they outlawed the sale of tobacco to kids. But it was quite a few years ago.
    Passing that law and enforcing it, was all the government ever needed to do, to end the problem of children taking up smoking. Obviously, we still have a high enough incidence of the problem, for the zealots to justify this latest round of nonsense, so that tells you the the government, who take more than half of all our money, and retain a monopoly on all the power and authority, are still incapable of doing that single task. Even with all those resources.
    On the other hand, are we really sure that there is a high incidence of under-age smoking? By that I mean habitual smoking, not just trying it once and then throwing up.

    Either way, we have already given all the relevant agencies all the resources and all the powers they need to sort this out, and in all these years, they haven’t? So instead of facing up to that inexcusable delinquency, they are now farting about with irrelevant side issues like packaging?
    Can we hang them yet?

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