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Cancer Council refutes obscene argument

Wednesday 4 August, 2010

Cancer Council Victoria supports the call today for all political parties to endorse the plan to phase in plain packaging of tobacco products, as a new, big-budget media campaign funded by the tobacco industry seeks to roll back this important health measure.

Cancer Council Victoria's Director, Professor David Hill, has been working for the past 30 years on reducing death rates from smoking related illness, especially cancers caused by smoking.

"If the tobacco industry argument is that plain packaging will negatively impact jobs and profits through reduced tobacco sales, it is an obscene argument. Reduced sales will lead to reduced cancer rates," said Professor Hill.

We know that smoking kills one out of every two long-term users, which amounts to 15,000 Australians a year. Smoking rates are reducing and are now less that one in five compared with 30 years ago when they were one in three adults.

Professor Hill said, "We have undertaken an enormous amount of work over a long period of time to lower smoking rates in Victoria. Saving the lives of Victorians from cancer, especially from smoking related cancers has been central to our work over many years".

The burden on our health system from the consequences of smoking is enormous, and the attempt by the tobacco industry to undermine this life-saving work is utterly shameful, he said.

Cancer Council Victoria calls on all political parties to affirm their support of the plain packaging initiative.

Find out the facts about plain packaging of cigarettes, including a summary of research evidence.