Tobacco Trends: Cigarette Plain Packaging and Vaping

Tobacco retailers are facing a different landscape in 2019 that could change the face of how they approach the market.

There are two tobacco trends that are taking over the industry – both of which could have a big impact.

1. Cigarette Plain Packaging

We wrote a couple of months ago about how cigarette plain packaging was on the way. Well, it’s no longer just on the way – it’s here. And it looks drastically different than the tobacco packaging of old.

On November 9, all tobacco products on Canadian shelves must be sold in plain brown packages (some have called the shade “the ugliest colour in the world”) with no colours or logos. The only thing on the packages will be the graphic health warnings.

According to Health Canada, more than four million Canadians still use tobacco — about 17% of the population aged 12 and over. The federal government aims to drive down tobacco use to 5% of the Canadian population by 2035.

2. “Smoke-Free” Vaping

There’s an interesting contrast happening right now in the tobacco market – as cigarette plain packaging comes into effect, more people are moving away from cigarettes towards a “smoke-free” alternative: vaping.

And it’s making smoking cool again among the younger set.

Young celebrities like Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones) are rarely seen without their vapes, or e-cigarettes. Vaping can make the nicotine taste strawberry or vanilla flavoured. The look of ecigarettes is sleek and sexy – one brand in particular is called “the iPhone of e-cigarettes.” Is it any surprise that kids want to try it?

The popularity is already promoting government pushback. At Cineplex movie theatres, Government of Canada ads play in the trailers warning teens about the dangers of vaping. And Health Canada is proposing limits on vaping marketing and advertising and a public education campaign against vaping aimed at young people.

Between plain packaging and e-cigarettes, the future of tobacco marketing could be changing.

What do you think is in store? Let us know on social media. Marketsupport Canada is on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

We help manufacturers and retailers navigate the latest retail trends. Contact us today by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visiting

« Back to Blog