Plain packaging the focus on World No Tobacco Day

Tuesday 31 May, 2016

World No Tobacco Day is the perfect time to quit smoking, as health groups around the world reflect on the devastating toll of death and disease caused by the addiction.

Quit Victoria is encouraging smokers to make a quit plan on World No Tobacco Day, which is observed each year on May 31 by the World Health Organisation and partners.

According to the WHO, about six million people die around the world each year from smoking-related disease.

This year, the theme of the day is plain packaging - putting the success of Australia's world-first laws in the spotlight. The WHO is encouraging governments around the world to adopt the successful measure.

Laws introduced in Australia have required all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging which does not feature brand imagery, logos or promotional text from 1 December 2012. The drab, standardised packaging also includes large and graphic health warnings.

Quit Victoria Director Dr Sarah White said a recent Federal Government review of plain packaging found the laws were achieving their aims, which include reducing the appeal of smoking and strengthening the effectiveness of graphic health warnings.

"The review also found that plain packaging is contributing to a decline in smoking rates across Australia and benefits are likely to grow over time, as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing death and disease caused by smoking," Dr White said.

"Already other countries are following Australia's lead - France and the United Kingdom implemented plain packaging on May 20, and Ireland is soon to follow.

"A recent judgement of the UK High Court rejecting big tobacco's attempt to derail the new legislation made for fascinating reading, as the judge exposed some of the industry's tactics around plain packaging.

"The fact is, smoking will kill two out of three long-term users, and plain packaging is one of the tools we can use to turn people away from this deadly habit."

Dr White said support was available for people to quit, with tools available at www.quit.org.au to help people understand their smoking habits and choose the best way to quit.

Smokers can phone the Quitline on 13 7848 and, for the cost of a local call, get personalised non-judgmental coaching and advice on understanding individual smoking triggers, and setting a tailored quitting plan.

More information about World No Tobacco Day 2016 is available at www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2016/event/en/