Bill could mean plain smokes packs

GLOSSY cigarette packaging will become a thing of the past if a draft bill to mandate plain packaging of tobacco products is supported by Federal Parliament.

It's a move supported strongly by Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation.

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.

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.

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