Warnings squeeze out brands

THE new plain packs of tobacco products have hit the shelves, and now there's no chance of dodging uncomfortable health warnings with a picture of lung cancer or a baby on a ventilator.

But owner of the Free Choice Tobacconist Byron Bay, Allan Abraham, said he doesn't believe it will make any difference at all.

"Every single regular smoker who has come into our shop has said it won't make one single shred of difference," he said.

He said from the social to the heavy smokers, "not one person" has come into his store and said it will stop them smoking.

Mr Abraham said that his understanding of the new packaging is that it targets the next generation of smokers, by making that packaging look not as attractive or "cool". In that, he said it failed.

During the Schoolies Week, we've had a lot of 18-year-olds come in and tell us it won't make any difference. They'll just cover it up and still think they're cool.

Since Saturday, no "old" packs have been available on shelves, only the new packages in what some are labelling "vomit green" and printed with new and expanded health warnings.

The plain packs have been brought in in an attempt to cut the number of smokers in Australia, because smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the country.

Smoking-related disease costs Australia around $31.5 billion a year and with the new packaging laws, health officials hope the number of smokers will decrease.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the new olive-brown packaging has already had some affect.

She said with reports that cigarettes "don't taste the same as they used to", but no changes in the contents, it was proof the changes were having a psychological effect.

The Cancer Council says tobacco use accounted for 7.8% of the total national burden of disease and injury.

Does the new plain packaging increase your desire to quit smoking?

This poll ended on 05 December 2012.

Current Results

Yes

26%

No

73%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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