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Issue #1498      20 April 2011

World’s first plain tobacco pack law will save lives

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia and 41 organisations have welcomed the world’s first proposed law mandating plain packaging of tobacco as a lifesaving policy and an end to marketing of tobacco diseases in glossy boxes.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon released a public exposure draft of legislation to make plain packaging of all tobacco products mandatory by July 2012.

Says Anne Jones, ASH Chief Executive: “We congratulate Health Minister Nicola Roxon and the Gillard government for putting health ahead of the commercial interests of the tobacco industry.

“Research evidence shows plain packaging of tobacco products will protect children and increase the effectiveness of health warnings. It will also prevent the use of misleading and deceptive claims and deglamourise tobacco packs and images.”

Ms Jones said that plain packaging of tobacco is supported by the Protecting Children from Tobacco coalition of 41 health, child protection, parent, carer, teacher, Indigenous, disability, religious, social equity and research bodies – an indication of the broad base of community support for this measure.

“The tobacco industry is aggressively fighting this health policy by making legal threats, setting up front groups and trying to manipulate smokers into protesting against plain packaging.

“This is the same industry that has misled smokers for decades, hiding tobacco health harm from them, secretly increasing the product’s addictiveness, and resisting all efforts by smokers to hold tobacco companies accountable for the harm caused by their products.

“Tobacco industry supporters claim it’s a ‘legal product’ - but so are guns and methadone and we don’t allow them to be prominently sold in glossy packs in the faces of children at every street corner.

“We urge all parties to support plain packaging. It will save lives, protect children and has strong community support.”  

Next article – All pain, no gain budget

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