Has Plain Packaging Stopped Australians from Smoking?

Smoking Woman

In 2012 Australian government adopted a new policy that imposes tobacco companies to pack their cigarettes in boxes with health warnings and graphic images of smoking-related diseases, without any cigarettes labels.  Today largest tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris says that plain packaging hasn’t made people stop smoking.

According to Chris Argent, the representative of Philip Morris, after introduction of this policy it is important to find out if fewer people are smoking today due to it. Ha says that researchers show that generally tobacco use and smoking prevalence was not reduced. So has plain packaging of tobacco products really failed to reduce the number of smokers?

Chris Argent referres to the November 2013 study led by London Economics, a UK economic and policy consultancy company, and sponsored by Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro and L&M cigarettes.

There were surveyed adult Australians in different periods of time:
1. between July and October 2012, before the new regulations came into action;
2. in March 2013, three months after policy implementation;
3. in July 2013.

The November report was a kind of provisional evaluation of the company’s analysis of the effects of plain packaging on smoking prevalence. The study found that the biggest group of tobacco users, who smoke on the daily basis, dropped from 20.4% of the adult population before policy came into action to 19.5% three months after implementation.

The number of people smoking on daily basis then increased to 20% in July 2013. People who told they were weekly but not daily smokers initially dropped, then came to the pre-implementation level of 2.1%. The number of people who never smoked increased from 45.6% in the second half of 2012 to 46.6% in July 2013.  There was made a conclusion that there was no change in smoking prevalence following the introduction of plain packaging in the country.

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