Plain speaking

Published : Jun 29, 2012 00:00 IST

Australia's fight against tobacco goes back to 1973 when the government issued health warnings on packets. In addition, there were advertising bans, tobacco excise increases, anti-smoking social marketing campaigns, workplace and broader indoor and outdoor smoking bans, support for smoking cessation through telephone helplines, and public funding for appropriate pharmaceuticals. The measures led to Australia having one of the lowest smoking rates in the world, with the daily smoking rate falling from 30.5 per cent in 1988 to 15.1 per cent in 2010. Professor Jane Halton, Secretary, Australia's Department of Health and Ageing, said, Even with this reduced rate, smoking is still estimated to kill 15,000 Australians each year and cost the economy and society $A31.5 billion annually.

So the next logical step was taken the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products, removing one of the last forms of tobacco advertising. On December 1, 2011, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act, 2011, became law. Under the legislation, all tobacco products will be required to be sold in plain packaging from December 1, 2012.

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