In a bid to kill the glamour and attractiveness associated with smoking, the World Health Organisation has decided to make plain packaging for cigarettes ‘global’.
The organization believes that this will have a “huge impact” on health. It also said that the move to introduce standardized packaging in countries such as UK, France and Australia would have an impact on policy around the globe.
In addition to Australia, the UK and France, other countries such as Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Panama, New Zealand and Belgium are at various stages of considering the introduction of plain packets of cigarettes.
Lung cancer was the biggest cause of death in New Zealand. Each year, about 5000 kiwis are killed from smoking related diseases.
However, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association said that the policy was being “driven more by dogma than hard fact”.
Australia introduced plain packs of cigarettes in 2012.
The data shows that the move led to the decrease in smoking by an additional 0.55%, the equivalent of 108,000 people, between December 2012 and September 2015, the WHO reported.
Plain, or standardised, packaging of cigarettes displays a uniform colour across all brands, except for health warnings.
Any brand names of the cigarettes are displayed in small, non-distinctive lettering.
Killing The Temptation
The move to introduce plain packaging of cigarettes is to ensure that the move kills the glamour and attractiveness of smoking.
Benn McGrady, from the WHO, said “the evidence is in” that the plain packaging curbs smoking rates.
However, Mr McGrady warned they were not a magic solution.
He stressed that there was a need to implement bans on advertising and smoking, along with higher taxes.
Mr McGrady told the BBC News website,
“We think the evidence is now so strong that it’s likely we’re witnessing the globalisation of plain packaging – particularly after countries as influential as the UK, France and Australia have implemented the measure.
“There’s massive opposition from the tobacco companies – all of them are opposed to it because it’s going to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use.
“We’re on the cusp of something very big here and it’s going to have quite a significant impact on public health.”
Giles Roca, the director general of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, argued anti-tobacco laws were being “driven more by dogma than hard fact and evidence”.
“The evidence from Australia is damning – plain packaging as a measure itself has been proven not to work and has made no impact on long-term smoking trends.
“There has been no acceleration in decline brought about by the policy, whilst the illegal market has increased markedly.
“Simply put, the very same result in terms of smoking rates would have been achieved by doing nothing.”