The tobacco industry's opposition to this measure is taken as proof positive that its introduction would kill the youth market – regardless of the known fact that most people start smoking before they are legally able to purchase tobacco. Tobacco Control puts its case here.
The Tobacco Control Supersite (Australian) has coverage. Included is this paragraph:
With global acceleration in tobacco advertising and sponsorship bans, the pack assumes unprecedented importance as a promotional vehicle for reaching potential and current smokers.British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have predicted that pack design alone will drive brand imagery. Packs can communicate the “personality” of a brand to smokers, and smokers can project these characteristics by handling and displaying the package throughout their daily routines. Just as designer clothing, accessories and cars serve as social cues to style, status and character so too can cigarette packs signify a range of user attributes.It doesn't follow that stripping the packs of branding will put people off. One might as well argue that new smokers will feel more able to experiment with brands that don't shout about user attributes.
Back to the UK. In an interesting postscript to the Indy piece we are told this:
In the past the tobacco industry has been suspected of funding campaigns fronted by small retailers to prevent further restrictions on sales. [Link added]
"That was certainly what I was told when I was Health Secretary," said the former Labour minster Andy Burnham. "But I have to say I never saw any proof."Now he tells us.