Mixed Opinions Over Plain Packaging Laws
Smokers may not be ready to farewell their addictions when plain packet packaging laws are introduced in Australia this year.
The newest method to deter smokers was approved by the High Court on August 15 and will come into effect by December.
Mr Stafford Sanders of Action on Smoking and Health believes plain packet packaging is a stepping stone to reducing smoking rates.
“The tobacco industries have used words and colours to create the false impression for smokers that certain brands are safer,” he said.
“This will stop deceptive packaging and remove the positive associations.”
The newest legislation will ban commercial logos, forcing cigarettes to be sold in pain green packets.
While brand names will be printed in a standard font and size, large health warnings will dominate the packaging.
“Previously health warnings would blend into the packets,” said Sanders.
“Plain packaging will focus more on what is inside the packet than what is on it.”
While Mr Sanders is certain the new packaging will “deglamourize cigarettes in the eyes of young smokers”, youths dealing with addictions aren’t as confident.
Adara Enthaler, 18, believes the new packaging will only aid young smokers in concealing cigarettes.
“It might not stop kids,” she said.
“If it’s just a plain packet, it won’t be as noticeable.”
The university student says smoking should be a personal choice, regardless of deterrence methods.
“I don’t think you can tell someone to stop smoking,” she said.
“It’s not always a great idea, but I don’t think anyone should be judged for smoking.”
Studies from Action on Smoking and Health Australia indicates tobacco kills approximately 15 000 Australians per year.
The 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey exposed 15 per cent of Australians were current daily smokers.
Enthaler admits in the past, health warnings have had an effect.
“I’m more aware [of health issues],” she said, adding that she smokes less.
However Ally Poultney, 18, says her smoking is an addiction.
“To truly understand how difficult it is living with an addiction, you have to be in the position of having an addiction,” she said.
Although aware of health risks, Poultney says her smoking a form of stress relief.
“It’s a kind of therapy,” she said, adding that it helps calm her down.
“I’ll definitely smoke more and feel more satisfied if I’m upset of stressed.”
Australia will see the full effects plain packet packaging have on smoking habits once they are nationally available.
The Australian Health Survey will continue to address the risk of smoking to people’s health.
The survey will run until 2013, providing a better understanding of current health in Australia.
It will address those at risk from smoking aims to estimate the prevalence of active and passive smoking.