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World leading plain packaging laws given a clean bill of health [and] Facts about plain packaging of tobacco

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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management




The Gillard Government today welcomed the decision of the High Court of Australia to reject the legal challenge by big tobacco against Australia’s world-leading plain packaging of tobacco laws.

This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco related illness. For anyone who has ever lost someone, this is for you.

No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard.

This decision is a relief for every parent who worries about their child picking up this deadly and addictive habit.

The Government recognises the importance of good health and we know that preventative health measures work.

Plain packaging is a vital preventative public health measure, which removes the last way for big tobacco to promote its deadly products. Over the past two decades, more than 24 different studies have backed plain packaging, and now it will finally become a reality.

Plain packaging will restrict tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text appearing on packs. Brand and product names will be in a standard colour, position and standard font size and style.

All tobacco products sold in Australia must be in plain packaging by 1 December 2012.

Big tobacco threw everything they could to try to stop this reform.

But, the highest Australian court has upheld an Australian law to protect Australians from the harm of smoking.

Tobacco companies should now stop trying to stymie this reform internationally and get on with implementing this important change.

This is a watershed moment for tobacco control around the world. Australia’s actions are being closely watched by governments around the world, including by Norway,

Uruguay, UK, EU, NZ, France, South Africa and China. Other countries might now consider their next steps.

The message to the rest of the world is big tobacco can be taken on and beaten. Without brave governments willing to take the fight up to big tobacco, they’d still have us believing that tobacco is neither harmful nor addictive.

Today should be a clarion call to every country grappling with the costs and harm of tobacco and hopefully encourage them to take the next tobacco control steps appropriate for them.

A fact sheet about plain packaging of tobacco and information about tobacco use in Australia is attached.

For all media enquiries, please contact the Attorney-General’s Office on 02 6277 7300 or Minister Plibersek’s Office on 02 6277 7220


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Facts about plain packaging of tobacco

The Australian Government's world first legislation to require all tobacco to be sold in plain packaging received the Royal Assent on 1 December 2011.

The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 requires that all tobacco products for retail sale in Australia are in plain packaging by 1 December 2012.

The legislation restricts the use of logos, brand imagery, symbols, other images, colours and promotional text on tobacco products and tobacco product packaging. The packaging must be a standard drab dark brown colour in matt finish.

The only thing on the packs to distinguish one brand from another will be the brand and variant name in a standard colour, position, font size and style.

The legislation is consistent with the obligations and recommendations of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Plain packaging is a crucial part of the Australian Government’s comprehensive suite of tobacco control measures.

The Government’s range of initiatives to reduce smoking and its harmful effects include:  an increase in the tobacco excise of 25 per cent in April 2010;  legislation and regulations to restrict internet advertising of tobacco products in Australia;  more than $85 million in anti-smoking social marketing campaigns, including $27.8 million for

campaigns targeted at high-risk and highly disadvantaged groups who are hard to reach through mainstream campaigns;  $5 million in additional support for the Quitline (131 848) in 2010;  extended listings of nicotine replacement therapies and other smoking cessation supports on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;  record levels of support for Indigenous communities to reduce smoking rates, through the Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative and the COAG closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes National Partnership Agreement;  a reduction in the duty free allowance for tobacco products from 250g to 50g per person, from 1 September 2012;  stronger penalties for people convicted of tobacco smuggling offences; and  the tobacco plain packaging measure.

The Government is committed to reaching the performance benchmarks set under the COAG National Healthcare Agreement of reducing the national smoking rate to 10 per cent of the population by 2018 and halving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rate.

Smoking Facts  Cigarettes are toxic and poisonous, containing more than 4,000 chemicals.  An estimated 15,000 Australians die every year from tobacco related diseases. Tobacco consumption remains one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in Australia.

 In 2010, approximately 3.3 million Australians still smoked, which is equivalent to about 15.1% of Australians aged 14 years and over. This is down from 30.5% in 1988.  The social and economic costs of smoking in Australia are estimated to be $31.5 billion annually.  Indigenous smoking rates remain high.

o Approximately 47% of adult Indigenous Australians smoke. o Smoking causes about 20% of Indigenous deaths.

Further information about plain packaging is available from the Your Health website:

Images of plain packaging of cigarettes can be found here: