The figures come from the Government’s Tobacco Plain Packaging – Post Implementation Review that confirms approximately one quarter of the total decline in smoking rates were attributable to plain packaging since the legislation was introduced in December 2012.
Adding further credence to the results, the report also concluded that “this effect is likely understated and is expected to grow over time.”
National Heart Foundation tobacco control spokesperson, and President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Maurice Swanson said this report sends a clear message that plain packaging on tobacco products works.
“The report undeniably shows that the legislation is working and has been the catalyst for tens of thousands of adults quitting and saved the lives of many thousands of Australians,” said Mr Swanson.
“The legislation was always designed for long-term impact and if these results are merely the start of the journey, a smoke-free Australia could one day be a reality.
“It cannot be denied that smoking takes its toll on the health of so many Australians and their families, and is a leading cause of preventable death amongst our population.
“The report supports the mounting evidence that shows plain packaging is undisputedly discouraging both children and adults alike from taking up, or continuing to smoke.
“Plain packaging, regular increases in tobacco tax and smoke-free areas, among other measures, have all played a critical role in driving down Australia’s smoking rates, now at just 12%.”
The Heart Foundation applauds the bi-partisan commitment to strong action in prevention. The Government, in particular Health Minister Sussan Ley and Minister for Rural Health Fiona Nash are to also be commended for remaining steadfast in its approach despite strong opposition from the tobacco industry.
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Media contact: Dominique Lemon, National Media Advisor, 03 9321 1533 or 0411 310 997