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Quit Calls For Plain Cigarette Packaging

The Sydney Morning Herald – March 5, 2008

Anti-smoking group Quit Victoria has called for the introduction of plain cigarette packaging to reduce the ability of tobacco companies to promote their product.

Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie said graphic health warnings on cigarette packets, introduced two years ago, had shown that smokers were influenced by what they saw on packaging.

She said all cigarette packets should have a standard colour, shape and format, with brand colours and logos removed.

“We know smokers are influenced by the images they see on the pack, so we need immediate action to stop the tobacco industry from using the pack itself as free advertising space to promote their deadly products,” Ms Sharkie said in a statement.

“Graphic health warnings are a strong deterrent to smokers and it’s about time the tobacco industry stopped using the remainder of the pack to water down and distract smokers from these important health messages.”

Ms Sharkie welcomed the federal government’s review of graphic health warnings and said she hoped the importance of plain packaging would be considered as part of the review.

Calls to the Quitline rose by almost 15 per cent following the introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets two years ago, with Victoria’s Quitline receiving more than 50,000 calls from people interested in quitting smoking since March 1, 2006.

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