RELEASE: New Studies Confirm Tobacco Plain Packaging Failure
71-nation York University studies find no evidence that the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has reduced smoking
Australian JCU study finds that plain packaging has been followed by reduced household tobacco expenditure, but an increase in quantity of tobacco consumed
Australian government must stop contributing taxpayer funds to push this failed policy, must enact proven effective tobacco control and harm reduction measures like legalised nicotine vaping.
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), a 75,000+ member national advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today welcomed newly released independent studies which confirm what the ATA has long argued: that tobacco plain packaging has not significantly reduced smoking prevalence in Australia, has acted as a distraction that has discouraged the implementation of more effective tobacco control measures, and has motivated a taxpayer-funded international push for this failed policy by the World Health Organisaton (WHO).
“York University (Canada) researchers have found no statistical evidence that global cigarette consumption has fallen as a result of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which includes the adoption of tobacco plain packaging. In fact, it has increased in low- and middle-income countries.” Noted Satya Marar, ATA Director of Policy.
“These 71-nation studies reveal that hardworking Australian taxpayers, who fund the 13thlargest contribution to the United Nations of any country, are being ripped off by bureaucrats spending their money to jet around the world to push failed health policies.
“Another study from James Cook University researcher David Underwood, contradicts false claims and junk science pushed by the Australian government about the effectiveness of their plain packaging policy. While it finds a significant decline in household tobacco expenditure and spending on tobacco against other goods and services, the quantity of tobacco consumed has increased. This indicates that plain packaging has not significantly affected smoking prevalence, and that it has simply increased the market share of cheaper and potentially illicit tobacco by replacing brand competition with competition on price.
“Failed plain packaging erodes intellectual property rights by setting a damaging precedent, with academics already suggesting that it be extended to alcohol and junk food.
“It has not only comprehensively failed in Australia, France and the UK, but also supports a punitive tobacco control approach which fails to recognise proven effective harm reduction strategies like allowing smokers to access nicotine through vapes. Nicotine vaping remains illegal in Australia despite its success as a smoking cessation tool recommended by public health bodies in the UK and elsewhere.
“With over 19,000 Australians a year succumbing to a premature death thanks to tobacco, it’s time for our government to wake up.”