Cancer Council Australia

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Plain packs will stop kids smoking

Young Australians will be less likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease if a newly released draft bill to mandate plain packaging of tobacco products is supported by federal Parliament, Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation said today (7 April 2011).

CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Olver, said a glossy branded pack remained the last above-the-line form of advertising to attract and addict new, younger smokers.

“Our research shows that the look of the pack is an important consideration for young people at risk of being drawn to smoking, so this move by the Australian Government has the potential to be one of the most significant public health measures in recent history,” Professor Olver said.

“Despite reduced smoking rates over the past 35 years, tobacco use remains by far the largest preventable cause of cancer mortality in Australia. A product that causes so much cancer death should be sold in bland, generic packets with a powerful graphic warning – and that’s what this bill mandates.”

CEO of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, Dr Lyn Roberts, said with almost one in five Australians still smoking daily, plain packaging was a vital policy measure for helping the nation reach its potential to reduce cardiovascular disease caused by tobacco use.

“Many young people drawn to smoking will think again when they see tobacco is packaged differently from any other mass-marketed consumer product,” Dr Roberts said.

“By avoiding a tobacco addiction, they will dramatically reduce their risk of prematurely developing and dying from heart disease or stroke.”

Professor Olver said Australia had a good record of bipartisan support for policies aimed at reducing tobacco use.

“Successive Australian governments have supported advertising bans, increased tobacco taxes and other measures that have reduced tobacco disease burden,” he said. “I would hope this groundbreaking initiative also receives broad support.”

Dr Roberts said campaigns opposing the initiative, funded by the tobacco industry, were further indication that plain packaging would prevent new smokers from becoming addicted.

“Unfounded and contradictory claims that plain packaging will ruin retail business on one hand yet do nothing to cut consumption on the other simply add to evidence we already have that shows it will work,” she said.

Media contact:
Paul Grogan
Mobile: 0409 456 727

Kirsten Andrews - Heart Foundation
Mobile: 0413 777 404

This page was last updated on: Monday, August 6, 2012