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Thursday 1 November 2012 Letters
Plain packs: where’s the evidence?
Will sticking gory pictures on cigarette packets really reduce smoking rates?

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An excellent analysis and commentary by Martin Cullip (The dangers of government gore) on the negligible if any public-health benefits of Australia’s plain-packaging law.

As one who has spent the past 25 years successfully campaigning to ban smoking indoors, sharply reducing tobacco marketing and sales to children, holding cigarette companies accountable in civil courts for their past actions, increase cigarette taxes (enough to reimburse government expenditures for treating smoking diseases and disabliities, but not to excessive punitive levels many anti-tobacco extremists now demand) and helping smokers quit, I’ve been challenging Simon Chapman, Nicola Roxon and other Australian plain-packaging campaigners to provide some actual evidence that plain packaging will prevent or reduce cigarette consumption (as they’ve repeatedly claimed) and to sober up before they destroy the credibility of all rational public-health agencies, organizations and professionals.

Unfortunately, these same folks who now insist that plain packaging will be a public-health panacea are the same folks who previously campaigned to ban the sale of snus (smokeless tobacco) and electronic cigarettes in Australia while keeping far more hazardous cigarettes legal. Of course, they also promoted those counterproductive laws (that prevent smokers from switching to far less hazardous smokefree alternatives) as necessary to ‘protect the children’, which has become their excuse for every law they lobby to enact.

Chapman’s latest attack against BAT for putting lettering on cigarettes was deservedly mocked by Chris Snowdon.

Once again, thanks for writing this.

Bill Godshall, Australia


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