Sunday February 23, 2020

Will plain packaging help in reducing tobacco smoking?

Australia in 2012 became the first country to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products and there were 108,000 fewer smokers over that period

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France, tobacco store, cigarettes. Image source: HuffingtonPost
  • Almost 6 million people a year die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses
  • In 2012, Australia became the first country to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products
  • Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Belgium and New Zealand are also planning to implement this measure

The type of plain packaging of tobacco products proposed by the WHO stands in sharp contrast to wrappers featuring rugged cowboys smoking in the great outdoors.

Sample packages are black, with large warnings that smoking kills and graphic images of people dying from cancer.  Douglas Bettcher, the WHO’s director for the prevention of non-communicable diseases, says the point of plain packaging is to reduce demand for tobacco by reducing the attractiveness of these products.

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“It very clearly labels tobacco for what it is, the only legally available product worldwide that when used as intended kills up to half of its users,” said Bettcher.

Many people may be vaping nicotine through e-cigarettes, smoking. Image source: post-gazette.com
Many people may be vaping nicotine through e-cigarettes, smoking. Image source: post-gazette.com

The WHO reports almost 6 million people a year die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses. The number is projected to rise to more than 8 million by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these preventable deaths occurring in developing countries.

Packaging

Australia in 2012 became the first country to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products, along with new and enlarged health warnings. France and Britain have since followed suit.  The WHO says other countries including Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Belgium and New Zealand are also planning to implement this measure.

Benn McGrady, an Australian lawyer and technical officer at the WHO, says Australia conducted a 34-month review between December 2012 and September 2015 to gauge the impact of plain packaging.

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“Over that period there was approximately a 2 percentage point reduction in the prevalence of smoking in Australia. Zero-point-55 percentage points is attributable to the packaging changes,” he said.

McGrady added there were an estimated 108,000 fewer smokers over that period as a consequence of the changes to packaging and labeling. (VOA)

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This should be done in India too. India is a country with great amount of smokers right from an early age. Initiatives should be taken to do so.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    I think i a country like India this won’t be that beneficial. Almost everyone knows that smoking kills but still they don’t give it up. Large warnings that recently came to be printed failed to make goo efforts too.

  • devika todi

    this is a step taken in the right direction. smoking has been glorified for long. in India, consumption of tobacco is also supported heavily. the government should definitely take measures to ensure that the public is well educated on these matters. the consumption of such products degrades the quality of health and poses as a risk to the consumer’s life.
    while we are on it, maybe we can stop the influential personalities from advertising for products that are dangerous to health, like tobacco.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This should be done in India too. India is a country with great amount of smokers right from an early age. Initiatives should be taken to do so.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    I think i a country like India this won’t be that beneficial. Almost everyone knows that smoking kills but still they don’t give it up. Large warnings that recently came to be printed failed to make goo efforts too.

  • devika todi

    this is a step taken in the right direction. smoking has been glorified for long. in India, consumption of tobacco is also supported heavily. the government should definitely take measures to ensure that the public is well educated on these matters. the consumption of such products degrades the quality of health and poses as a risk to the consumer’s life.
    while we are on it, maybe we can stop the influential personalities from advertising for products that are dangerous to health, like tobacco.

Next Story

Australian Economy Could be Hit Hard by the Coronavirus

Know how coronavirus can have a negative impact on the Austalian economy and entertainment industry

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Australia economy coronavirus
According to economists, Australia could lose as much as $1 billion due to coronavirus outbreak. Pixabay

The outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China has quickly caused a crisis across the world. The virus has already been announced to pose a worldwide threat, but the biggest risk groups are the countries located close to China.

The toll has not been limited to those infected by the virus. The entire economy of the world is currently going through a major change, since China and its neighboring countries, including Australia, are such important players in the world trade. All the flights going in and out of China have been canceled and traveling, in general, has become much more dangerous, hence much less popular. The scope of the damages caused by the coronavirus has already stunted the economy of the region.

Economic losses for Australia

According to economists, Australia could lose as much as $1 billion due to this outbreak. The tourism sector has taken the biggest hit with these changes. The outbreak happened during the Chinese New Year, which is usually a huge time for international travel, but because of this outbreak, the traveling is limited, causing the countries that usually see a lot of action in ticket sales, a major loss. Even though 99% of coronavirus cases are registered in China, there are some singular cases outside of the country, in Australia as well, so the traveling is actually quite difficult, with some airlines completely shutting down their flights to prevent the virus from spreading.

Australia economy coronavirus
The outbreak has affected the businesses and services that operate in public areas, but most of all it is the entertainment industry in Australia that has suffered. Pixabay

What is also affecting China is that they have suspended all the trading, and for a lot of countries, especially for Australia, for which China is an extremely important trading partner, the access to a lot of imported goods has been limited.

The world has experienced outbreaks of a similar scale two times, during the swine flu (H1N1 Flu) in 2009, and SARS 2003, also originating from China. But this time around, having had experience with SARS, China reacted much more quickly than in the previous case, hopefully ensuring the better prevention of international contamination, but coronavirus is difficult to diagnose because it does not immediately show up, with varying symptoms, so a person could be carrying a virus without even knowing it for two weeks.

The effects on the entertainment industry

The outbreak has affected the businesses and services that operate in public areas, but most of all it is the entertainment industry that has suffered, because amidst the outbreak, not only do people have no time for these kinds of activities, but also most of them require being around a lot of people in smaller spaces.

Australia economy coronavirus
What is also affecting China is that they have suspended all the trading, and for a lot of countries, especially for Australia, for which China is an extremely important trading partner, the access to a lot of imported goods has been limited. Pixabay

Australia has one of the most famous gambling scenes, with two outstanding leaders in this industry located there, The Crown and Star, who rely on rich gamblers coming in from China.  So as on mainland China it is illegal to gamble the VIP gamblers come in Australia to get access to online gambling for real money and play here online pokies games. These establishments are already experiencing huge losses. The USB forecast even went on to say that these casinos will likely see a 50% drop in their income because of the outbreak. These casinos are a tourist destination as well, and considering the dangers that come with flying in the regions around China, these casinos are bound to have a pretty rough quarter.

The airline companies will also experience huge losses these following weeks and since we don’t know whether there will be a solution anytime soon, and how bad the coronavirus can get, these estimations could really grow, causing even bigger disruptions. The exact numbers could change in a matter of weeks, depending on how the virus behaves, but one thing is clear, the outbreak has greatly affected the economies around the world, and especially in the region. Australia is already recovering from the terrible bushfires that have destroyed a lot of Australia’s wildlife and facilities.

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Now in addition to that, the country is experiencing the consequences of the virus outbreak and is feeling the results of the outbreak on its economy and financial sector, with tourism and entertainment, two for the huge parts of the Australian economy, taking the biggest hit.