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Issue #1579      January 30, 2013

Plain tobacco packs a turn-off for smokers

Mandatory plain packaging of tobacco took full effect in Australia on December 1 – and had an immediate impact on smokers.

All tobacco products sold in Australia now must be in plain, standardised drab green-brown packs with mandatory graphic health warnings, and brand and variant names in small plain font.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia has been told more smokers are calling Quitlines – and that it seems the new packs are directing smokers’ attention towards the graphic health warnings – now the world’s largest, covering 82 percent of each pack.

Said ASH chief executive Anne Jones: “The intention of this world-leading legislation is to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, to eliminate misleading messages about the harm caused by smoking, and to make the health warnings more prominent.

“From reports we’re receiving, there are already signs of this happening.”

Quit services have noticed an increase in calls, some smokers saying they feel the cigarettes don’t taste as good – possibly influenced by the lack of misleading colours, pictures and logos.

“This is a historic day. A powerful form of tobacco advertising has been banned for the first time, and the tobacco industry can no longer use the pack to glamourise smoking.”

Australian children are only seeing tobacco packs showing this product as what it is: unhealthy and unglamorous.

“Again we congratulate the Australian government for taking this initiative in the face of aggressive, bullying tactics by the tobacco industry.”

“We now look forward to many other countries ending this insidious and misleading form of tobacco advertising. The UK and New Zealand have already completed public consultations, and several others have expressed a keen interest.”  

Next article – Danger of fire station closures

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