Labor’s world leading plain packaging laws have sent tobacco consumption plunging to yet another record low.
The latest ABS National Accounts figures show tobacco consumption fell a further 3.8 per cent in the March quarter.
Tobacco consumption has now plunged 10 per cent over the past 12 months, and a staggering 17.5 per cent in the two and a half 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.
As feared by tobacco companies, Australia’s lead is now creating an unstoppable momentum with Britain and Ireland voting to introduce plain packaging and the entire European Union expected to follow.
Earlier this year, one of the world’s most respected medical journals declared Labor’s world leading plain packaging laws to be “a casebook example of effective tobacco control.”
“The evidence suggests that plain packaging is severely restricting the ability of the pack to communicate and create appeal with young people and adults.”
“Death of a Salesman” – British Medical Journal’s Tobacco Control
The BMJ has scathingly dismissed tobacco-funded campaigns to undermine Labor’s laws.
“Did it lower prices for licit tobacco or increase the use of illicit tobacco, both of which might be expected to encourage smoking? There is no evidence for either effect.
“Plain packaging is delivering on its hypothetical promise, and the potential downsides, much vaunted by its opponents, are not materialising.”
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 ABS National Accounts figures confirm once and for all plain packaging is driving down tobacco consumption and saving lives.
It is understandable why the tobacco industry thinks plain packaging is a bad thing – but the evidence, and the momentum is now clear.