Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

World Health Organisation says Pacific considering cigarette plain packaging

30 Jun 2014

The World Health Organisation says a number of countries across the Pacific are considering following in Australia’s footsteps and introducing plain packaging of cigarettes.

The WHO is set to join governments across the region in a major drive to make the Pacific tobacco free within 10 years.

The WHO Pacific coordinator of non-communicable diseases, Dr Temo Waqanivalu, says the project will be launched in Honiara in two weeks and plain packaging is among the tactics being considered.

“The actual measure itself is something that’s greatly supported and there are a few countries that are ahead of the game, (they) are actually talking of moving there now,” Dr Waqanivalu told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.

“They’ve done the graphic warnings on the packets so the next step after that is to actually move towards plain packaging.”

Dr Waqanivalu says increasing the tax on cigarettes and cracking down on the tobacco black market are the keys to reduce smoking.

“If those two happen, well then especially the young smokers, the youth, they’re the first ones who actually going to begin to quit,” he said.

“Economic ministers should really think seriously about assisting… part of that is facilitating increased taxation on tobacco cigarettes.”

The WHO says Cook Islands has been a leader on reducing smoking, having significantly increased the price of cigarettes with plans for further rises.

“Cook Islands is really exemplary of what we are trying to promote across the Pacific and they’ve done exceptionally well.”

But Dr Waqanivalu says the tobacco industry is fighting back.

“We know the tobacco industry is always at work,” he said. “We see them influencing ministries of health.”

Dr Waqanivalu says the WHO’s plans also involve setting up services to help people quit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>