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Quit and Cancer Council Victoria back the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthen tobacco plain packaging measures on the 10th anniversary of world-leading legislation

Thursday 1 December, 2022

Quit and Cancer Council Victoria warmly welcome the Australian Government’s announcement of 11 new proposed measures to strengthen plain packaging legislation for tobacco. The announcement includes provisions to update advertising regulation to capture e-cigarettes; a burgeoning risk to public health and a risk to young people in particular.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO and former Quit Director, Todd Harper says “Today is a celebration of significant research, policy and advocacy work by a host tobacco control experts right across Australia. We are so pleased the government is listening. The lives of Australians will be healthier for it.”

Since the introduction of plain packaging legislation a decade ago, an estimated one million Australians have quit smoking. 26 countries followed Australia’s lead and adopted similar plain packaging laws.  

The new measures unveiled by Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Honourable Mark Butler, would re-establish Australia’s position as a world-leader in tobacco control, and help to further drive down the prevalence of smoking in this country. 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey showed 10.7 per cent of Australian adults smoke at least daily.

The announcement also acknowledges how the tobacco industry has created a new pathway to nicotine addiction in the form of e-cigarettes and vaping.  

While there is still immense work to be done to get new measures passed in Parliament, Quit and Cancer Council Victoria recognise the important step this symbolises. The measures will help ensure we can effectively minimise Big Tobacco companies’ ability to misleadingly sell their deadly products to Australians.

The legislation includes provisions such as:

  • Standardising the size of tobacco packets and products
  • Preventing the use of specified additives in tobacco products, including flavours and menthol
  • Standardising the design and look of filters
  • Limit the use of appealing names on products that falsely imply these products are less harmful, like “organic” or “light”

“I’m immensely proud of my colleagues in Quit and across the Cancer Council federation and partner organisations, for the pivotal role they’ve played in driving down smoking prevalence in Australia over the last four decades. Plain packaging was a turning point in this downwards trend. Today’s news means Australia will again reclaim its spot as a world-leader in tobacco control and better position us to reach the 5 per cent smoking prevalence target by 2030.”

Quit launched a mass media campaign in October 2022, The Con that Kills, which sought to expose deceptive tobacco industry tactics go mislead customers. Tricks include small holes in filters and masking the harshness of smoke with menthol. With the proposed legislation in place, these product manipulations will no longer be able to continue to con Australians.