The vast majority of UK people do not believe that plain packaging will stop children from smoking, a new Populus poll has revealed.

According to the survey, 97% of 2,000 members of the public believe that social factors such as peer pressure, rather than pack design, influences under -18s to start smoking.

Just 3% of people said they believed that plain packaging would be the most effective initiative to reduce underage smoking, while 64% said they thought it would be the least effective initiative. 

Over 30% of adults think that increased education in schools and tougher penalties against retailers who sell to under-18s would be more effective.

Commenting on the poll, Mark Littlewood director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It is hardly surprising that almost everyone surveyed for the poll believed plain packaging would fail to stop under 18s from smoking. It is obvious that such a measure will fail to tackle underage smoking – we know from overseas reforms such as those in Germany that it is education that makes a difference.”

The general population poll was produced by Populus for Philip Morris Limited, and the full data is available on the Populus website at