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May, 2016:

Medical chiefs want total ban on tobacco sales to anyone born after the year 2000

The proposal is aimed at stopping people taking up smoking, with Norwegian health experts hoping to stamp out the habit by 2035

Medical chiefs are calling for a complete ban on tobacco sales to anyone born after the year 2000.

The controversial proposal, in Norway, is backed by six out of ten people in the wealthy Scandinavian country.

Norwegian Medical Association president Marit Hermansen said: “It is not a basic human right to begin using tobacco.

“We have long had the policy of phasing out smoking by 2035. This is a measure to achieve this goal.

“It shouldn’t be forbidden to smoke, but we want young people to not get started with tobacco.”

But while the majority of Norwegians agree the NMA, Health Minister Bent Hoie told the Aftenposten newspaper that the government currently has no plans to take up any legislation that would lead to a ban of tobacco sales.

In Britain, new rules banning e-cigarette advertising and ordering that all cigarettes are sold in plain packets come into force in May.

But tobacconists have a year’s grace period to sell their old stock.

Then by 2020, packs of ten cigarettes and menthol cigarettes will be banned and rolling tobacco must come in at least 30g packs.

They form part of the EU ’s aim to slash the number of smokers across Europe by 2.4 million and combat an estimated 700,000 premature deaths caused each year by

Tobacco control cost-saving study dubbed ‘outstanding’

Work to cash up potential health savings from stop smoking schemes has won a major European award.

EQUIPT, (European-study on Quantifying Utility of Investment in Protection from Tobacco) aims to calculate the costs and benefits of tobacco control across Europe.

The €2 million Brunel-led project has pocketed an Outstanding European Health Research Award from the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention.

EQUIPT will offer health providers and policy makers across Europe tailor-made figures on how much they can save from investing in tobacco control such as stop smoking schemes.

“In terms of saving lives through less smoking related diseases, this is very far reaching,” said study leader Dr Subhash Pokhrel. “It can also avoid different countries spending money on similar research.”

Big regional differences across Europe mean one size doesn’t fit all, when it comes to smoking statistics. Evidence strongly suggests hard-hitting, joined-up tobacco control programmes are the best way to stop people starting smoking and get more to stop. But regional European health providers and policy makers don’t have the tailored data to financially justify such prevention programmes.

EQUIPT uses comparative analysis to show European health providers how they can translate figures from similar English regions to predict tobacco control benefits locally.

Above helping regional health providers calculate value for money, “it should give us enough information to see if harmonising efforts on tobacco controls across Europe could be cost effective,” said Dr Pokhrel.

Led by Brunel’s Health Economics Research Group (HERG), EQUIPT is a partnership between Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

Plain packaging & tobacco taxes: an antidote for manipulation and deception


For 2016’s World No Tobacco Day, celebrated today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are calling on countries to get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products. Why, may you ask?

The importance of this regulation is best explained in “Phishing for Phools” a new book by Nobel Prize Laureates in Economics, George Akerlof (2001) and Robert Shiller (2013). We humans think in terms of stories, Akerlof and Shiller observed, and our decisions are consequently determined by the stories we tell ourselves. Advertisers use this to their advantage by “graph[ing] their story” onto ours, and thereby influencing the decisions we make—in this case, to get us addicted to tobacco use, particularly teenagers and low-income people.

Australia passed legislation in 2012 to reduce the appeal of smoking by restricting the use of logos, colors, brand images, or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and small font below hard-hitting warnings depicting the negative health consequences of smoking. In the two years following the law, tobacco consumption declined 12.8%, which some have attributed, in part, to the legislation.

Other countries are starting to follow Australia’s example. Similar regulations approved in France and the United Kingdom are set to begin implementation in 2016, and they are under formal consideration in several other countries across the world. Uruguay and Thailand already mandate that at least 80% of front and back of the packaging be covered with graphic health warnings. And Mauritius leads Africa in terms of requirements for tobacco packaging and labelling.

The arsenal of effective consumer protection regulations that contribute to reduce the social acceptability of smoking also includes advertising bans, smoke-free public spaces, and restricting sales to minors. In the United States as mandated to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the 2009, “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act,” regulatory agencies have authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, like any other drug.

Cigarette taxes also play an important role in tobacco control. Evidence presented by high-level officials from China, Philippines, Uruguay, and the United States at a global tax conference held at the World Bank this past week, shows that raising tobacco taxes increases prices, reduces consumption, and improves the public health by reducing ill health and premature death.

Expanding the Global Tax Base: Taxing to Promote Public Goods, Tobacco Taxes: (Pictured left to right) Patricio Marquez, World Bank Group, Fernando Serra, Ministry of Economy & Finance, Uruguay; Philip Cook, Duke University; George Akerlof, Georgetown University; Jason Furnman, US President’s Council of Economic Advisers; Jeremias Paul, former Under Secretary of Finance, Philippines; and Rose Zheng, University of International Business and Economics,  Beijing, China.

Expanding the Global Tax Base: Taxing to Promote Public Goods, Tobacco Taxes:
(Pictured left to right) Patricio Marquez, World Bank Group, Fernando Serra, Ministry of
Economy & Finance, Uruguay; Philip Cook, Duke University; George Akerlof, Georgetown
University; Jason Furnman, US President’s Council of Economic Advisers; Jeremias Paul,
former Under Secretary of Finance, Philippines; and Rose Zheng, University of International
Business and Economics, Beijing, China.

Contrary to the assumption that tobacco taxes are financially regressive, Jason Furman, the Chairman of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers, illustrated how the sum of benefits fully offset the additional cost of taxes on consumers—tobacco taxes disproportionately benefit lower income households because as tobacco taxes increase, better health ensues, less money is needed for smoking-related healthcare services, and labor productivity improves due to reduced sickness and absenteeism.

Raising tobacco taxes is also an easy way to raise domestic revenue for health and other priority investments, as it is done in the Philippines under the 2012 Sin Tax Law to expand health insurance coverage to 15 million poor families or about 45 million people, and in the United States after federal tobacco taxes were increased in 2009 by US President Obama to fund the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for low-income children. The 2015 excise tax increase at the wholesale level in China, which has increased the tax rate as a percentage of the retail price from 49% to 56%, is a significant step for China, not only because the country is the largest producer and consumer of tobacco in the world, but also to deal with the growing burden of non-communicable diseases. The experience of Uruguay, a country with one of the most comprehensive tobacco control laws in the world, shows that its application has significantly decreased smoking among adults from nearly 50% to about 20% over the past decade.

We have to be clear that tobacco control measures, such as plain packaging and higher taxes, are not part of a “nanny state” designed to hinder “free choice” in society. For those of us who have lost loved ones due to tobacco-related diseases, the story is a painful one. Simply told, our loved ones had become addicted to cigarettes, a product that unlike any other product on the market, kills when used as promoted by the “feel good” stories of manufacturers. Indeed, despite new year’s resolutions and promises to quit, they could not shake off the “urge” to smoke!

On this World No Tobacco Day, the international community needs to recommit itself to support countries in adopting plain packaging legislation to make tobacco use less attractive and increase taxes to make tobacco products less affordable. Improving public health and protecting future generations from the risks of tobacco use should be a priority in the global social contract. We owe it to the memory of our loved ones and to the millions of people who have died prematurely because of their tobacco addiction.

The global state of smoking in 5 charts

Tobacco use kills 6 million people a year – that’s one person every six seconds.

If left unchecked, this number could rise to 8 million a year by 2030. It’s why efforts such as plain packaging laws highlighted in my colleague Patricio’s blog and this year’s World No Tobacco Day are so important.

I’ve taken a look at tobacco use estimates from the WHO’s Global Health Observatory below to get a better idea of where smokers are, how smoking rates have changed over time, and how they vary between men and women. You can find all the data and calculations behind the charts below here.

There are over a billion smokers worldwide


As you’d expect, there are large numbers of smokers in the world’s most populous countries, but it’s in the smaller and relatively richer countries of Europe where you find some of the highest smoking rates.

Smoking rates increased in 27 countries between 2000 and 2015


In a number of mostly low- and middle-income countries, smoking rates increased between 2000 and 2015. In Indonesia for example, the rate went up by almost 30% over the period, making the country home to more than 70 million smokers.

In the majority of countries, smoking rates are lower than 15 years ago

rates-01 rates-02 rates-03

But in most countries with available data, smoking rates have been falling and often substantially – from richer countries like Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Canada to poorer countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda and Nepal.

In almost every country, smoking rates are much higher among men than women

rates-men-women-01 rates-men-women-02 rates-men-women-03 rates-men-women-04

The figures above have all been based on the average smoking rates for men and women. When you disaggregate the data, you see that in almost every country (Nauru and Sweden being the exceptions) smoking is more common among men than women, and often by a huge margin.

There are bigger changes in smoking trends among men than women


I grew up in Japan in the early 90s and as child I could see how prevalent smoking was among men. I even remember my schoolteachers going out for cigarette breaks between classes and at lunchtime! It’s impressive to see the more than 30% decline in smoking among men there in the past 15 years and you see similar trends among men in many countries around the world.

But as noted in the second chart, there are 27 countries where smoking rates went up, and those trends are especially pronounced among men. As my colleague Bassam writes, changing attitudes towards smoking is a hard but important problem – healthy lives matter for individuals and economies.

So there you go, five charts about smoking. Did any trends or figures stand out for you?

Data used in this post:
Smoking prevalence rates from the WDI for men and women in 2012
Total population and percentage of populaiton aged 0-14
Tobacco use data from World Health Organization

Hong Kong must adopt plain tobacco packaging, say health advocates

Three-quarters of Hongkongers support restrictions on logos, colours and brand images on cigarette and other tobacco product packs in a bid to further reduce smoking

We’ve all chosen products purely based on packaging – a bag of chips at the supermarket, a novel at the bookstore, a photo of a dish on a menu. Even when dealing with people, we tend to let first impressions guide our future interactions with them.

The power of packaging to directly influence one’s perception of something or someone is so strong that it’s no surprise the World Health Organisation advocates plain packaging for tobacco products, which kill almost six million people every year.

Momentum for plain packaging has steadily gained in the past few years, starting with Australia’s implemention in December 2012, and now the measure looks to be gaining traction worldwide.

“We’re beginning to see the globalisation of plain packaging,” says Benn McGrady, a legal adviser to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Plain packaging of tobacco products restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

Earlier this month on May 20, France and Britain each began implementation of plain packaging. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure this year; Hungary and Norway are in the process of developing laws to implement plain packaging; Singapore is undertaking a public consultation with a view to introducing plain packaging; and several other countries, including New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, have either expressed an intent to implement the measure or are in the policy development process.

When will Hong Kong be next? Antonio Kwong, chairman of the Council on Smoking and Health (Cosh), says Cosh has been advocating the government to implement plain packaging since 2012.

About three-quarters of Hongkongers have expressed support for plain packaging, Kwong says, citing results from the 2015 Tobacco Control Policy-related Survey commissioned by Cosh and conducted by Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health to collect public opinion towards current and future tobacco control policies.

“In view of the global successful examples and WHO’s appeal, Cosh recommends the government to actively consider adopting plain packaging in two to three years,” says Kwong.

The WHO is stepping up its drive for plain packaging by making it the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, held annually on May 31 since 1988. WHO has launched a new 86-page guide to plain packaging of tobacco products, which gives governments the latest evidence and guidance on implementing the measure.

“Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people,” says WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan. “It restricts tobacco advertising and promotion. It limits misleading packaging and labelling. And it increases the effectiveness of health warnings.”

McGrady says there’s a “strong evidence base” supporting the implementation of plain packaging, including more than 80 peer-reviewed empirical studies, three systematic reviews of the evidence, and an official post-implementation review from Australia.

“As a whole, this body of evidence points in one direction, which says plain packaging is an effective public health intervention,” says McGrady.


Smoking prevalence has been steadily declining in Australia for years, and even if plain packaging hadn’t been introduced the rate was projected to be 17.77 per cent among those aged 14 and older in 2015. However research shows that between December 2012 and September 2015, there was an additional 0.55 percentage point fall in smoking prevalence attributable to the packaging changes – meaning a 17.21 per cent prevalence – McGrady says.

This equates to more than 108,000 fewer smokers in Australia as a consequence of plain packaging – a “very big” number, says McGrady. “Plain packaging has decreased tobacco use in Australia beyond trend; it has increased the speed of the downward trajectory.”

Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people Margaret Chan, WHO director-general

Tobacco packs act as a prominent form of tobacco advertising and promotion, not only at the point of sale, but also after, says the WHO report. Tobacco products are “badge products”, meaning they have a high degree of social visibility and that consumers identify with the brand image cultivated on product packaging.

“As internal tobacco industry documents recognise, packaging plays an increasingly important role in promoting tobacco products as other restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotion are tightened,” the report says.

In the evidence gathered in the report, studies show that packaging – in particular colour – affects consumers’ perceptions of risk. Early evidence of this can be found in internal tobacco industry documents released to the public through litigation, the report says.

For example, a 1990 tobacco industry document recognised that so-called “lower delivery products” were featured in lighter packs because they have a clean healthy connotation. Other studies tested consumer reactions to ultra-light products packaged in different colour packs. Consumers ranked the perceived tar level of products in different colour packs and commented on factors such as the harshness and strength of the flavour of different colour packs with otherwise identical products inside them.

There’s also evidence that plain packaging influences the intention and increases the urgency of smokers to quit. It also reduces active smoking and the display of tobacco packs in outdoor settings.

Plain packaging also prevents misleading packaging, the report says, such as labels like “light”and “mild”, which suggest products are less harmful to health than regular brand variants when this is not the case. Rather, consumers compensate for the lower tar and nicotine yields in these products, including by smoking more of a cigarette and taking deeper puffs.

With all this compelling evidence, why aren’t more governments rushing to implement plain packaging?

“I think the resistance to tobacco control and plain packaging are driven by the tobacco industry using its deep pockets to oppose implementation of good public health policies. It’s political; it’s nothing to do with evidence or public policy,” says McGrady. “That’s what’s slowing down tobacco control globally.”

Tobacco industry opposition to plain packaging dates back more than 20 years, McGrady says. Most recently the world’s top four tobacco companies challenged Britain’s new plain packaging law, arguing that it unlawfully took away their intellectual property. The High Court struck down the challenge and the law came into effect on May 20.

“It is wrong to view this issue purely in monetised terms,” the ruling said. “There is a significant moral angle embedded in the regulations, which is about saving children from a lifetime of addiction, and children and adults from premature death and related suffering and disease.”

One person dies from a tobacco-caused disease approximately every six seconds according to the WHO. Annual deaths are forecast to rise from 6 million to more than 8 million by 2030.

In Hong Kong, the prevalence of daily cigarette smokers among persons aged 15 and over has decreased steadily from 23.3 per cent in 1982 to 10.5 per cent in 2015 (except for years from 2000 to 2002). Still, a Chinese University study last year found that smoking costs the city HK$11.3 billion each year, in health care expenses and productivity losses related to tobacco.

The WHO recommends implementing plain packaging as part of a comprehensive approach to tobacco control that includes large graphic health warnings and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Says Kwong: “Through the implementation of a comprehensive and multipronged strategy, including a policy of long-term tobacco tax increases to reduce affordability, expansion of statutory no-smoking areas, restriction of tobacco promotion and packaging, the banning of tobacco product displays at points of sale, raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21, increasing resources for smoking cessation services, strengthening smoke-free education and promotion, placing responsibility on venue managers for smoking offences in their premises etc, we hope the smoking prevalence will drop to below 5 per cent in the near future.”
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China back-pedals on tough national smoke-free law

Changes to draft legislation would let people light up in restaurants, bars, hotels and airports

China has back-pedalled on a proposed national smoke-free law, with plans now to grant exemptions to restaurants, bars, hotels and airports.

Sources who have read the draft said they were shocked by how much it had been watered down from the version put up for public consultation in November 2014. That earlier draft proposed a ban on smoking at all indoor, and some outdoor, public spaces.

The latest version of the Ordinance on Smoking Control in Public Spaces would allow restaurants, bars, hotels and airports to set aside smoking areas, several sources who have seen the draft said. The changes are a major departure from the 12th five-year plan, which ended last year and called for a complete smoking ban in public spaces.

Bernhard Schwartländer, the World Health Organisation’s representative in China, said the WHO was worried by the changes.

A law that has so many exceptions can’t be enforced. We have learned the best law is one that is 100 per cent smoke free.

“You see again and again in the world such exceptions built in the law and it doesn’t do much to protect the health of the people from second-hand smoke. A law that has so many exceptions can’t be enforced. We have learned the best law is one that is 100 per cent smoke free. That’s is very simple and clear,” Schwartländer said.

With about 315 million smokers, the mainland is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of tobacco products. And roughly 700 million people are routinely exposed to second-hand smoke, according to the WHO.

Tobacco control is difficult on the mainland because the industry is state-owned and lucrative, generating more than 1.09 trillion yuan (HK$1.3 trillion) in profit and tax revenue last year.

A national health official campaigning to restrict tobacco use said some cities already had strict laws banning smoking in all indoor public areas and “we’d rather have no law at all than have a national law that says it is OK to smoke indoors”.

Eighteen mainland cities have passed municipal smoking bans since 2008 and of those Beijing’s is the strongest. The law, introduced in the capital in June last year, complies fully with the WHO’s call for a complete ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces, public transport, indoor public areas and other public places.

A year after it came in, smoking in indoor public areas in Beijing has dropped from 23.1 per cent to 6.7 per cent and smoking in restaurants fallen from 40.3 per cent to 14.8 per cent, according to Fang Laiying, director of the Beijing Health and Family Planning Commission.

But the manager of Hua’s Restaurant in Beijing said allowing smoking areas in restaurants would make his job much easier.

“Some customers are not from Beijing. Some are drunk. It’s very difficult to persuade them not to smoke in the restaurant,” he said.


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World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2016

Clear the Air says:

The rest of the world is starting to follow the WHO directive, except here, where the clocks are winding back instead of forward.

Hong Kong Health Bureau officials, having learned the Ombudsman is chasing their lack of effort and political will, have now decided they will press for

– Oops not plain packaging-

they will (following 3rd world country India who already did it) press instead for an 85% graphic health warning (replacing outmoded 50% current) on the packet, but the whole idea is to take away the glitzy colors which Big Tobacco uses on its ‘Silent Salesman’ packet, its remaining legal advertising gullible youth attractant fly paper

Whiskers middle class citizen food truck promoting Tsang took in HKD 6.297 bn last year in excise tobacco tax to the concrete pouring fund, and doled out a meagre HKD 160 million for tobacco control whilst HK continues to subvent the costs of smoking related health care as tobacco executives with impunity continue to smuggle (not control their supply chains) their own brands to get more market share =more deaths = defeat tobacco control existing flimsy methods.

Earlier, last month on May 20, France and Britain each began the implementation of plain packaging under new laws. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure this year; Hungary and Norway are in the process of developing laws to implement plain packaging; Singapore is undertaking a public consultation with a view to introducing plain packaging; and several other countries, including New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, have either expressed an intent to implement the measure or are in the policy development process. Canada follows Australia’s lead and has sued Big Tobacco and won, CAD 15 billion for recovery of health care costs – why not here ?

Get ready for plain packaging

Plain packaging of tobacco products can save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products, and is recommended in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. “Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Canada to make plain packaging for tobacco products compulsory

Canada, following the lead of Britain and Australia, will make plain packaging of cigarettes compulsory in a bid to cut the rate of smoking, Health Minister Jane Philpott said on Tuesday.

Although Canada already obliges firms to slap large graphic warning labels on cigarette packets, Philpott said more must be done, given that some 5 million of Canada’s 36 million inhabitants still use tobacco products.

The measures would require a uniform, standardized color and font on packages and restrict the use of logos and trademarks.

“I don’t believe tobacco companies should be allowed to build brand loyalty with children for a product that could kill them,” Philpott told reporters.

A final decision on what packaging rules to apply will be announced after a three-month period of public consultations.

Earlier this month, a British court backed the government’s plans for mandatory plain packaging when it struck down a legal challenge from tobacco companies.

In 2011, Australia became the first country to adopt plain packaging legislation.

Major producers of tobacco sold in Canada include Japan Tobacco’s JTI-Macdonald unit, Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc, which is partly owned by Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd, a unit of British American Tobacco.

“With products already hidden from view in stores and 75 percent of the pack covered with health warnings, nobody starts smoking because of the pack,” said Eric Gagnon, a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alan Crosby)

Canadian Cancer Society praises federal consultation on tobacco plain packaging

The Canadian Cancer Society commends Minister of Health Jane Philpott for launching a formal consultation toward implementing tobacco plain packaging in Canada.

The consultation document, announced today on World No Tobacco Day, provides a detailed outline of how plain packaging may be required in Canadian regulations.

“Plain packaging is highly effective and is supported by extensive research,” says Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “If plain packaging were not effective, then tobacco companies would not be so strongly opposed to it. It is precisely because plain packaging will reduce sales that tobacco companies are objecting so loudly.”

“It is encouraging that the government is looking not only to eliminate tobacco-company promotion on packages, but also to standardize the shape of the package and to ban slim cigarettes,” says Cunningham. “Slim and superslim cigarettes target young women and associate smoking with weight loss, sophistication and glamour.”

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, including about 30% of all cancer deaths. Among women alone, the number of lung cancer deaths is double the number of breast cancer deaths. Smoking kills 37,000 Canadians every year. The 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey found that 18% of Canadians (more than 5 million people) are smokers.

“Plain packaging is a key tobacco control measure to advance public health in Canada,” says Cunningham. “Today’s announcement of a formal consultation brings us closer to the day when plain packaging will be in effect to protect youth.”

“Tobacco companies should not be able to use the package as mini-billboards to promote tobacco,” adds Cunningham. “Tobacco is a highly addictive, lethal product and should not be sold in packages made to be more attractive. It is essential to provide protection from tobacco-industry marketing tactics, especially for children.” A growing number of other countries are requiring plain packaging, which will make it easier for Canada to do so. The international trend is very positive.

What are other countries doing?

Plain packaging was required in Australia in 2012, implemented in the UK and France as of May 20, 2016, will be implemented soon in Ireland and is under formal consideration in New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Slovenia and other countries.

What is plain packaging?

Plain packaging prohibits brand colours, logos and graphics on tobacco packages. Graphic health warnings and pictures still appear, but the rest of the package is a standard colour for all brands, such as the drab brown required in Australia. Package dimensions are standardized, eliminating slim and superslim packs as well as other attractive package formats recently introduced by tobacco companies.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

Plain cigarette packaging increases motivation to quit, says anti-smoking group

The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) believes that the stripping of cigarette package branding, directly affects the the sale of the tobacco products.

NCAS Executive Director, Yussuf Saloojee says that a case study in Australia proves that plain packaging is effective in reducing the rate of smoking.

According to Saloojee, Australia introduced the plain packaging laws in 2012 and tobacco usage has fallen to its lowest levels.

Plain packaging increases the motivation of smokers to stop smoking and deters young people from starting.

— Dr Yussuf Saloojee, NCAS Executive Director

Saloojee suggests that current packaging in South Africa entices impressionable youth into believing that smoking is a ‘glamorous’ thing to do.

He says that the cigarette industry spends excessive amounts of money trying to sell their brand and promote the habit to young people.