News & Comment

Plain packs: Forest calls for UK policy review following "five years of failure" in Australia

Thu 30th November, 2017

Plain packaging has failed to reduce smoking rates in Australia, says Forest.
 
Commenting on the fifth anniversary of the introduction of standardised packs in Australia [Friday December 1st], Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:
 
"Plain packaging has been a spectacular failure in Australia. We were told it would deter people from smoking but the effect has been minimal. 
 
"Data shows plain packaging has had no impact on the prevalence of smoking in Australia which is the same now as it was in 2013. 
 
"In fact, because of population growth, more people are smoking in Australia than five years ago."
 
He added, "Smokers don't care about packaging. It's the product not the pack that matters.
 
"Plain packaging is no deterrent to teenagers either. Few people ever started smoking because they were attracted to the pack."
 
The UK government followed Australia's lead and introduced plain packaging in 2016.
 
Clark urged the UK government to commission an independent review of the impact of plain packaging as part of its new tobacco control plan which was announced in July.
 
"Policies," he said, "should be evidence-based. Plain packaging is based not on evidence but on wishful thinking. 
 
"The measure has failed in Australia and it will fail in the UK."

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