Plain Packaging Special Issue - Editorial

  • The Honourable Nicola Roxon Former Health Minister and Former Attorney-General of Australia Chair, Cancer Council Australia

Abstract

It gives me great pleasure to write a forward on this topic at a time when there is such a groundswell of international support for plain packaging of tobacco products.  World No Tobacco today in 2016 had as its tag line “Get ready for plain packaging” and the world’s health ministers are doing just that.


When Australia became the first country in the world to remove all colours and logos on tobacco packs in 2011 – recognising their allure to young new smokers – the tobacco industry tried every move in their book to stop us.  Lobbying, donations, advertising campaigns, threats, dodgy research, front groups, overblown claims and legal action dominated our political debate for two years. 


When all these local manoeuvres failed, the industry switched its effort to ensuring we were the only country to take this step. 


Writing in November 2016, it is clear that those efforts, both local and international, have manifestly failed.  Country after country – France, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Norway, New Zealand – are implementing plain packaging, passing their laws or consulting with the community before introduction and many more countries will move this way in the coming months and years.


Plain packaging of tobacco products is now truly an international movement.  It is an epidemic of the best sort, as countries catch on to its value, purpose and ease of implementation.  We will now see its introduction spread like wildfire around the world.