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November 14th, 2011:

Australian Senate passes cigarette pack reform

The Australian government is a step closer to banning logos and advertising on cigarette packets

Monday 14 November 2011

Britain has been urged to follow the example set by the Australian government over plans to ban logos and advertising on cigarette packets.

In a world first, this week, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s administration passed draft legislation that makes it illegal for tobacco companies to display their brand colours, designs and logos in an attempt to deter young people from taking up the habit.

As a result, as of December next year, cigarette packaging will be mundane and feature larger health warnings and vivid images of the effects of smoking-related illnesses.

The legislation is expected to become law when the House of Representatives accepts the amendment later this month. Tobacco companies have threatened legal action, claiming that the legislation would illegally diminish the value of their trademarks.

British American Tobacco Australia Ltd vowed to challenge the law in the Australian High Court and warned that the government was on “shaky legal ground”.

However, health minister Nicola Roxon said the Australian Government was “determined to take away the last method of advertising” cigarettes in the country.

She added: “We’re not going to be bullied into not taking this action just because tobacco companies say they might fight us in the courts. We’re ready for that if they do take legal action.”

Under the proposed legislation, fines of up to AU$1.1 million (£701,000) and AU$220,000 (£140,000) can be respectively imposed on a company or an individual breaching the regulation.

Cancer Research UK has praised the determination of the Australian Government and wants the UK Executive to follow suit.

Sarah Lyness, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy and information, said: “Now that Australian legislation is well on the way to ensuring that cigarettes can only be sold in plain packaging – banning the brands and logos that attract young people to such a deadly addiction – it is vital that tobacco companies are denied any opportunity to delay the law coming into force.

“Cancer Research UK is campaigning to urge the government that Britain should follow Australia’s example in protecting children from tobacco and bring in similar legislation which could save thousands of lives in future years. One in two long-term smokers will die prematurely because of tobacco, and most become addicted as children.

“It’s vital that everything is done to put tobacco out of sight and out of mind to protect future generations. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK and up to nine out of 10 cases of the disease are caused by smoking.”

Copyright Press Association 2011

WHO REPORT On THE glObal TObaCCO EPidEmiC, 2011

Warning about the dangers of tobacco

by WHO

Download PDF : 9789240687813_eng

The European Cancer Leagues and the Belgian Foundation against Cancer call for plain packaging of cigarettes across Europe

On 12 January 2011, the European Cancer Leagues, an EPHA member, and the Belgian Foudation against Cancer organised a Press Conference calling for cigarette plain packaging to become the rule in the European Union. The press release of the event is available below.


On 12 January 2011, the European Cancer Leagues, an EPHA member, and the Belgian Foundation against Cancer organised a Press Conference on plain packaging og cigarettes. Based on numerous international studies proving the impact of generic cigarette packs, both organisations call for plain tobacco product packaging at the European Union level. The press release of the event is available below.

PRESS RELEASE 12 January 2011 Brussels, Belgium

Convincing international research findings on the effect of generic cigarette packs

The Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) and the Belgian Foundation against Cancer call for the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products in the revision of the 2001 EU Tobacco Products Directive.

Six studies in three EU countries conclude that plain cigarette packaging is less attractive, reduce the promotional appeal of the packs and enhances the visibility of the health warnings.

Tobacco Products Directive under review

The 2001 EU Tobacco Products Directive is under review. This Directive regulates the content and labeling of tobacco products in the EU. The European Commission is exploring the merits of introducing plain packaging as part of the revision of the Directive. Last year already the Australian government decided to introduce legislation to make plain packaging mandatory on all tobacco products as of 2012.

What is plain packaging ?

Plain packaging includes the removal of all attractive promotional aspects on tobacco product packaging. Except for the brand name (which would be presented in a standardized way), all other trademarks, logos, color schemes and graphics would be prohibited. The package itself would be required to be plain colored and to display only information (such as health warnings) required by law.

The impact of plain packaging

To find out, the Belgian Foundation against Cancer recently commissioned qualitative research on the opinions and attitudes of young people towards plain packaging in Belgium (Professor Guido Van Hal, University of Antwerp). Other qualitative and quantitative research projects were carried out independently by Dr Karine Gallopel-Morvan, University of Rennes, in France and by CrawfordMoodie, University of Stirling, in Scotland, during the last three years.

These six research projects, conducted by university teams in three EU countries using different methodologies with young and adult people, smokers and non-smokers, all came to the same convincing findings :

Plain cigarette packs are less attractive than the current ones

Plain cigarette packs reduce the promotional appeal of the packs

Plain cigarette packs enhance the visibility of the health warnings.

Therefore, the researchers of the three universities conclude that plain packaging is very likely to influence the intentional behaviour to prevent or stop smoking.

The call of for plain tobacco product packaging at EU level

Tobacco labelling is a EU competence. Both the Belgian Foundation against Cancer and the Association of European Cancer Leagues call for the introduction of plain packaging as part of the revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive. “It is unacceptable that a carcinogenic product, such as tobacco, still is sold in such an appealing package”, says Luk Joossens, ECL tobacco control expert, “The research findings from three EU countries are very convincing : plain packages make cigarettes less attractive, certainly among young people. Plain packaging therefore would mean an enormous step forward in our fight against smoking. It would be difficult to argue against such a proposal which makes cigarettes less appealing to youngsters.”

Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive : false claims made by the tobacco industry

Cancer Research UK has produced a briefing note rebusting some of the false claims made by thetobacco industry about the ’Tobacco Product Directive’. The Tobacco Product Directive is beingrevised by the EU since September 2010, with intensive lobbying from the tobacco industry to preventits strengthening.

The Cancer Research UK briefing provides an outline of the key issues related to the Tobacco Products Directive and addressessome of the false claims (myths) that are being made by the tobacco industry.

Lobbying from the tobacco industry is so intense that representatives from the tobacco indutry even threatened to launch legal actionshould the European Commission proposes plain packaging.

Trying to limit, as much as possible, the possible outcomes of the Directive’s revision, the tobacco industry is using a series of arguments to convince policy makers such as

” Smuggling will rise with plain packaging”,

“It will be more difficult for retailers to differentiate products”,

“This is against property law”,

“They want to ban burley tobacco”,

“There is no evidence that flavours make tobacco products more attractive” etc.

However, several of them are not substantiated, as demonstrated by Cancer Research UK – an EPHA member.

For all stakeholders interested in public health, the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive represents one of 2011-12biggest challenge. If the European Commission goes for plain packaging, if tobacco flavours are banned, this could have a greatimpact on people’s health but also a considerable impact on the tobacco industry. And the more than 85 000 responsesreceived by the European Commission during the consultation process demonstrate clearly there is a lot at stake.

According to Cancer Research UK, a stronger Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) requires, in particular, larger warnings (includingpictures) on both sides of the packet, plain packaging and regulation of flavourings and additives, is needed to protect children andyoung people from the marketing of this highly addictive and seriously harmful product.

NB : Tobacco causes 650,000 deaths each year in Europe.

For further information

European Commission launches public consultation on revision of Tobacco Products Directive 2001/13/EC

EPHA responds to European Commission Consultation on possible revision of Tobacco Products Directive 2011/37/EC

SFP/ENSP Recommendations for the Tobacco Products Directive review

WHO publishes its 2011 Report on tobacco

The Tobacco Products Directive : Myth Busting

Last modified on novembre 15 2011.

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