Labor’s plain packaging laws have been an unqualified success in saving lives, improving public health and reducing health costs, an official government review has concluded.
The Commonwealth’s Post-Implementation Review of Labor’s 2012 plain packaging laws has found that:
“the PIR concludes that tobacco plain packaging is achieving its aim of improving public health in Australia and is expected to have substantial public health outcomes into the future.”
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.
While not all of this decline is due to plain packaging, the report finds:
“the 2012 packaging changes resulted in a statistically significant decline in smoking prevalence.”
As feared by tobacco companies, Australia’s lead is now creating an unstoppable momentum with France joining Britain and Ireland in voting to introduce plain packaging, and dozens of other countries set 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
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.