On December 1st it becomes mandatory for all cigarette packets to be in plain, drab, olive packaging in Australia. It has been phasing in over some time and in spite of rumoured legal action tomorrow is D-day. There was a lot of rhetoric when it was announced suggesting it wouldn’t make any difference and it was a personal choice so we were becoming a nanny state and much more. From the initial results it may be having a more significant impact that expected.
Advice group Quitline and Facebook fan sites have been inundated with comments saying their smokes taste “pathetic”, “sickening” and lack flavour now they come in one-colour packets dominated by vivid health warnings. Tobacco companies deny changing ingredients, while pundits say the issue highlights the power of branding
If that wasn’t enough there are a number of countries around the world watching this to see if it has an impact with a view to creating similar legislation. If it works in Australia why wouldn’t it work elsewhere?
Then yesterday we heard about a judgement delivered in the United States that orders tobacco companies to publish statements that say they lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking’s health effects.
Among the statements mandated are:
- “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans. Every day.”
- “Defendant tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.”
- “When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain, that’s why quitting is so hard.”
- “All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and premature death – lights, low tar, ultra lights and naturals. There is no safe cigarette.”
- “Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.”
- “Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma and reduced lung function.”
- “There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
This is very powerful stuff and whilst there may be a challenge to the judgement it is a significant impost if it goes ahead.
Recent studies seem to show that less people are smoking and yet it is still the largest preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. There is a tobacco-related death about every 28 minutes in Australia, adding up to more than 50 deaths each day. Most smokers know this and still can’t kick the habit which is why the campaigns are aggressive and often confronting, not just here but all around the world.
Categories: What a world