We spoke to Chris Armitage, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Manchester and a member of the British Psychological Society Behaviour Change Advisory Group.
said the change in packaging was unlikely to result in current smokers changing their behaviour, but could dissuade young people from taking up smoking.
said: 'Moodie et al. (2013) showed that regular smokers were less inclined to quit smoking in response to packaging in 2011 (after graphic images were introduced on packaging), compared to 2008 (before graphic images were introduced on packaging), so plain packaging is unlikely to make much difference to current smokers.'
Regarding young smokers, Professor Armitage
said that before advertising bans on smoking, research tended to show that awareness of advertising and motivation to smoke were linked and therefore any reduced exposure to advertising is likely to reduce the chance of smoking uptake.
added: 'One concern for the future is whether e-cigarette advertising and/or e-cigarette uptake ultimately turns out to be a precursor to future cigarette smoking.
'Although nicotine consumption per se does not appear to be related to increased risk of cancer, there is some evidence that nicotine disrupts brain reward mechanisms that could increase susceptibility to other drugs (e.g. Kenny & Markou
, 2006; Yurasek et al., 2013).'
When asked whether standardized packaging should be a priority for the Government in its attempts to stop people from smoking, Professor Armitage
told The Psychologist: 'There is a large body of evidence, stretching back quite a few years (e.g. Peterson et al., 1992) suggesting that increased taxation will reduce both uptake and consumption of cigarettes.