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Looking beyond the smoke and mirrors
  1. Crawford Moodie
  1. Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Crawford Moodie, Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK; c.s.moodie{at}

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For more than a quarter of a century, tobacco companies have argued that plain packaging will increase sales of counterfeit cigarettes.1 The claim, that if all packs look the same they would be easier for criminals to copy and lower the cost to, and confuse, the public, who would be less able to distinguish fake from legitimate packs, seems credible. However, the presence of full branding is no barrier to duplicating cigarette packs, and the cost per pack for mass produced counterfeit cigarettes is so low that plain packaging could not reduce the price paid by consumers.2 As for confusion among the public, counterfeit cigarettes are generally significantly cheaper than …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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