Does Plain Packaging For Vapes Stop Youth Appeal?

An investigation published on the Jama Network looks into the role of packaging on the appeal of vapes.

The report looks at how different packaging styles reflect on the appeal of vapes to different age groups.

2 surveys conducted among 2,469 people aged 11-18 and 12,046 over 18 in the UK during 2021.

The participants were part of the ASH (Action on Smoking and Health Great Britain) online survey.

Three styles of e-cigarette packaging were available – some participants were only shown 2 styles.

·Fully branded – standard packaging (control)

·White standardised packaging with brand name

·Green standardised packaging with brand name

In response to the packaging images the under 18 age group were asked which product people their age would be interested in trying. For the over 18s they were asked which product they would be interested in trying. Also options for “No interest” and “don’t know” were offered.


Under 18 Survey
·943 (38.2%) stated that people their age would be interested in trying any of the products in the packaging images.
·794 (32.2%) responded that people their age would have no interest in any of the products.
·732 (29.65) reported that they did not know which products their age group would be most interested in.

The Green packaging seemed the least popular with 292 out of 815 (35.8%) saying they believe that people their age would not be interested in this product. Second with 264 out of 826 (32%) was the White packaging and the most popular at 238 out of 828 (28.7%) was the branded packaging.

Basically less people were put off by the standard branded packaging than the White or Green.

Over 18 Survey
·947 (7.9%) reported they were interested in trying products from any of the packaging images.
·10,563 (87.7%) had no interest in trying any of the products.
·536 (4.4%) did not know if they would be interested.

With this group there was not a huge difference between the different types of packaging.

Those who would not be interested were 3050 out of 4040 (86.8%) for the Green packaging, 3532 out of 4006 (88.2%) for the White packaging and 3526 out of 4000 (88.1%) for the standard branded packaging.

From the data it appears under 18s are most affected by packaging style and are easily put off from trying a device in Green or White packaging.

For over 18s the packaging style makes less of a difference with the Green packaging actually being more popular.

So would a change to plain packaging be the answer to keeping vapes out of underage users hands be an answer?

Possibly, it could make a huge difference.

However under 18s should not be buying these full stop regardless of the packaging. The laws should prevent this happening. Those who are under 18 are still obtaining vapes from somewhere and if “under the counter” or other dodgy means – the sellers are unlikely to comply with packaging and selling rules anyway!

If I was still a smoker, the plain packaging on Cigarettes and Tobacco would make zero difference to me, if I needed to smoke I would still buy them.

As a vaper I think the packaging makes little difference. I would like to see a product image on the packaging so I know what it looks like but otherwise it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest as long as I could still buy the device I wanted.