Psychologists at the University of Surrey have called on the UK government to cease prevaricating and mandate plain cigarette packaging to boost public health.
Health campaigners are calling for the move in order to help the 100,000 people who die of smoking related causes every year but ministers have back-tracked in recent months in the face of vociferous opposition from the tobacco lobby.
Now a fresh study conducted by the university into cigarette advertising from the 1950s found that cigarette boxes are increasingly being used as an advertising medium as other channels are closed down.
Professor Ogden, comments: "The results in our study were very revealing. The box cannot be considered a neutral object that has no impact on consumer choices which provides evidence in support of the call for compulsory plain packaging. In fact the box is itself a form of branded packaging that is oriented towards persuading smokers to purchase cigarettes."
"Other studies have found that the introduction of plain packaging has resulted in smokers perceiving their cigarettes as less satisfying and of lower quality than previously. It is hoped that the introduction of plain packaging would significantly reduce smoking behaviour."