Labor’s world leading plain packaging laws have helped drive tobacco consumption down to yet another new record low.
The latest ABS National Accounts figures show tobacco consumption fell a further 1.3 per cent in the September quarter – the fifth consecutive quarterly fall.
Tobacco consumption has now plunged 11.4 per cent over the past 12 months, and a staggering 18.3 per cent in the three 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.”
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.
Labor’s plain packaging policy, together with our plan to continue raising tobacco excise by 12.5 per cent a year for a further four years will help to further drive down smoking, and save thousands more lives.
The official ABS National Accounts figures confirm once and for all Labor’s anti-smoking policies, including 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.