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Cigarette package deterrent rebuff for government

Tuesday July 23rd, 2013

Early signs show that plain packaging of cigarettes in Australia is having an impact on smokers, researchers say today.

The research comes days after the British government decided to shelve plans for plain packaging on the grounds there was no evidence yet from the Australian experiment.

Australia became the first country in the world to require cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging in December.

The policy has led to smokers finding their cigarettes significantly less satisfying and of poorer quality than previously, the researchers report in BMJ Open.

The findings come from interviews with more than 500 smokers in the state of Victoria in November last year when plain package cigarettes were already being sold.

The researchers write: "The finding that smokers smoking from a plain pack evidenced more frequent thought about, and priority for quitting, than branded pack smokers is important, since frequency of thoughts about quitting has strong predictive validity in prospective studies for actually making a quit attempt."

The British Heart Foundation said the findings showed the British government had "no excuse" for delaying its legislation.

Chief executive Simon Gillespie said: "These are clear-cut findings about how existing smokers have reacted to the changes In Australia.

"This is yet more evidence for the UK Government that standardised cigarette packs work in discouraging smoking.

"The research shows smokers who use standardised packs with larger health warnings enjoyed the experience of smoking less and were also more likely to consider quitting."

Introduction effects of the Australian plain packaging policy on adult smokers: a cross sectional study BMJ Open 22 July 2013; doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003175 [abstract]

Tags: Australia | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | UK News

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