Thursday 19 May 2016 2:13 pm

This one chart shows the impact plain packaging laws had on cigarette sales in Australia (spoiler: it wasn't much)

This afternoon, big tobacco companies lost a High Court appeal against new plain packaging rules that will come into effect tomorrow. 

From 20 May, all cigarette packets will have to look similar under the new domestic laws, with the same green colour, font, size, case and alignment of text on boxes.

Read more: Big tobacco companies told to back off in plain packaging ruling

One other country has implemented similar plain packaging guidelines: Australia.

But in Oz, the Plain Packaging Act, implemented on 1 December 2012, has had a limited effect on sales of tobacco.

The Australian government promised the plain packaging would: reduce overall smoking rates, reduce youth smoking rates and increase the effectiveness of health warnings. 

Read more: New laws will stub out menthol cigarettes and 10-packs from tomorrow

However, despite three years of data, there is little evidence yet the policy has worked. 

In fact, the chart below shows that in the immediate aftermath of the new law, cigarette sales were barely affected by the packaging changes. Instead, sales only dropped off significantly in December 2013 when a large, 12.5 per cent tax rise on tobacco was implemented.

In addition, since the introduction of plain packaging, the market share of illegal tobacco is estimated to have increased by more than 25 per cent, to 11.5 per cent to 14.3 per cent of all tobacco consumed in Australia, according to Australian government data.