December marked 10 years since world-first plain packaging laws came into force in Australia.
A whole generation of young Australians have no memory of cigarette packets featuring bright colours and designs. Thanks to the government mandate, packs are now a drab dark brown with large graphic health warnings.
While big tobacco companies fought hard against the legislation, Cancer Council Victoria and Cancer Council Australia jointly established the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer with the Union for International Cancer Control, the first and only organisation of its type in the world. The McCabe Centre played an important role in supporting tobacco plain packaging in Australia and helping other countries to follow Australia’s lead and implement their own plain packaging laws.
By 2022, 24 countries, including the United Kingdom, Thailand, Türkiye and Canada, have introduced and adopted plain packaging laws, with Georgia and Mauritius being some of the most recent to issue regulations implementing plain packaging.
A major evaluation of plain packaging conducted by Cancer Council Victoria found that the new plain packs were far less appealing than the former packs—particularly among school children—and a
government-commissioned study found an estimated 100,000 fewer Australians were smoking just three years after full implementation.
However, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, claiming the lives of 15,000 Australians every year.
“As the industry evolves and becomes stealthier in its marketing practices, Cancer Council Victoria will continue to strengthen and support further tobacco control action,” said Mr Harper.
Read more: www.cancervic.org.au/about/stories/celebrating-10-years-plain-packaging.html