While the study seems to be based on a robust methodology, the authors themselves recognise the cross-sectoral nature of the data does not enable causal relationships to be drawn about packaging and future smoking behaviour.
As such, it does not demonstrate that simply because some young people find some packaging attractive they will go on to start smoking.
There have been severe restrictions on tobacco advertising for many years now, and by 2015 every shop in Scotland that sells tobacco products will have to entirely cover up their tobacco displays. In the real world, outside of these academic studies, young people have less and less opportunity to be exposed to different forms of packaging other than those bought by their parents and peer group. In many ways policy is already moving on from the artificial conditions created by this kind of survey.
We do not want to see young people begin smoking and responsible retailers are fully committed to controlling and regulating tobacco. However, there remains no definitive evidence that packaging is the main causal factor in encouraging young people to smoke.
Scottish Grocers’ Federation