This is an article on Advertising Age on the proposal to ban branding on cigarette packaging effectively turning all cigarettes into generic brands: http://adage.com/globalnews/article?article_id=147387
Personally, I think it wouldn’t be worth the trouble and money to move from where we are now straight to banning branded cigarettes.
It is true that packaging is like the “silent salesman”, but the most power it has is to persuade existing (cigarettes) customers to choose one brand over another. It is quite improbable that it will persuade someone who does not smoke into smoking.
I personally agree with the idea of removing cigarettes from display in all shops (mentioned at the end of the article) and believe that it is a highly reasonable move. Once the cigarettes are out of sight, then the next reasonable step is to ban branded cigarettes, as it can foster addiction through brand loyalty. But that should be a while after the first move of removing cigarettes from display has been in effect long enough to show positive results.
And I am wondering: by my putting a picture of cigarettes up on my blog, am I advertising cigarettes as a whole?