WHO global health days

World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get ready for plain packaging

31 May 2016

Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

For World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2016, WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling countries to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products.

Plain packaging is an important demand reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.

Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

Guidelines to Articles 11 and 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recommend that Parties consider adoption of plain packaging.

Plain packaging builds upon other measures as part of a comprehensive multisectoral approach to tobacco control. Policy makers, civil society and the public can take action to ensure that their governments consider adoption of plain packaging.

Facts about plain packaging

Interest in plain packaging is progressing across the globe:

  • In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging.
  • In 2015, Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and France all passed laws to implement plain packaging from May 2016.
  • A number of countries are in advanced stages of considering adoption of plain packaging laws.

Goals of WNTD 2016 campaign

World No Tobacco Day 2016 aims to:

  • Highlight the role of plain packaging as part of a comprehensive, multisectoral approach to tobacco control.
  • Facilitate policy development by Member States and the globalization of plain packaging by providing informative, compelling and persuasive information.
  • Encourage Member States to strengthen packaging and labelling measures and restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship as they work towards plain packaging in a step-wise approach.
  • Support Member States and civil society against tobacco industry interference in political processes leading to adoption of plain packaging laws.

Related links

Countdown to World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2016