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Statement from Cancer Council Victoria on Cochrane Review of plain packaging

Thursday 27 April, 2017


Cancer Council Victoria welcomes the findings of an independent systematic Cochrane Review released today that has found tobacco plain packaging may reduce smoking prevalence.

The review noted that its conclusions are supported by routinely collected unpublished survey data from Australia. These include two national population surveys that show decreased adult smoking prevalence after plain packaging (Drug Strategy Household Survey and ABS Health Survey) and the Australian Secondary Schools Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) survey that showed reduced smoking prevalence among students aged 12 to 17 years after plain packaging.

The review also found that tobacco plain packaging reduces appeal and that this may provide a mechanism through which plain packaging reduces smoking prevalence.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said: “We welcome the findings of this independent review which has found tobacco plain packaging may reduce smoking prevalence, further supporting the findings of surveys and published studies conducted here in Australia.

“The pack is one of the last pillars of tobacco industry marketing, and in jurisdictions without plain packaging the pack will continue to be used as an unscrupulous tool to keep and attract customers.”

Dr Sarah White, Director of Quit Victoria, said it was vital to use every weapon in the arsenal against smoking in order to save lives.

“We cannot escape the fact that two-thirds of Australians who smoke will die prematurely. Reducing the smoking prevalence by even one percentage point prevents the premature death of more than 160,000 Australians,” she said.

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and are internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care resources. They investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. They are published online in the Cochrane Library