Today’s decision to uphold Labor’s world leading plain packaging laws is a victory for public health and a 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 France today joining Britain and Ireland in voting to introduce plain packaging, and dozens of other countries set to follow.
The latest ABS National Accounts figures show tobacco consumption fell a further 1.3 per cent in the September quarter taking the total fall in the three years since Labor’s plain packaging laws came into effect to 18.3 per cent.
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
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.
It is understandable why the tobacco industry thinks plain packaging is a bad thing – but the evidence, and the momentum is now clear.