Labor’s world leading plain packaging laws have sent tobacco consumption plunging to a new record low, vindicating Britain’s move overnight to follow Australia’s lead.
The latest national accounts figures have revealed tobacco consumption fell a further 2.9 per cent in the December quarter.
That takes the total fall in tobacco consumption to a staggering 12.8 per cent in the two years since Labor’s plain packaging laws came into effect.
This is a stunning vindication of the strategy Labor adopted in government under Health Ministers Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek.
This strategy has now been endorsed by a second European country, with Britain’s House of Commons overwhelmingly endorsing plain packaging laws overnight.
As feared by tobacco companies, Australia’s lead has created an unstoppable momentum with France and the entire European Union likely to move to plain packaging.
Labor’s example in staring down the ferocious legal attacks from big tobacco are now inspiring the rest of the world to follow this major advance in public health.
Each year smoking kills 15,000 people in Australia. The economic and social cost of smoking is estimated at $31.5 billion a year.
The official National Accounts figures confirm once and for all plain packaging is having a dramatic effect on tobacco consumption and is saving lives.
It is not surprising that the tobacco industry thinks plain packaging is a bad thing – because the evidence is clear and Labor looks forward to other nations joining the UK and Ireland in following Australia’s lead.