POST B: Australia’s plain packaging

Within the world health organizations (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), there are six key components that provide guidelines for governments/organisations when approaching Tobacco control. These components include; Monitor the use and prevention policies, protect people from tobacco smoke, offer help to quit tobacco use, warn about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and raise taxes on tobacco. The Australian government heavily involved in the development of the FCTC guidelines, thus Australia became one of the first countries to implement plain packaging measures in 2012. These measure ‘act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.’ (Article 5.3, FCTC)

‘Our business is not about persuading people to smoke; it is about offering quality brands to adults who have already taken the decision to smoke.’ British American Tobacco Australia website 2011

The introduction of plain packaging is one of the simplest but more effective methods to combat the number of new smokers and number in general. It is a particularly effective method of reducing participation by underaged or younger smokers, reducing the appeal that coincides with aesthetic packaging and brand recognition whilst also increasing the effectiveness of health warnings.


Figure 1: NewsComAu 2018, Tobacco giants vow to keep fighting, Viewed 26 Nov 2018, <>

Dr Tasneem Chipty, of Analysis Group, conducted research into the discernible effect that plain packaging has on the prevalence of smoking within Australia. The research found that between the years 2012 and 2015 the plain packaging campaign was responsible for a quarter of the total drop in smoking prevalence, resulting in around 100,000 fewer smokers. The immediate effect of this initiative is seen within these numbers, highlighting the impact of cigarette advertisement and branding in the past and its impact on new and established smokers.

However, there are limitations of this initiative relating to its longevity, as many smokers and non-smokers alike have become desensitised to the packaging due to prolonged exposure. the fact that these forms of packaging have been normalized by smokers and non-smokers alike creates an opportunity for the introduction of new and more effective forms of preventative packaging.   As an initiative, I believe that it was an important and successful step towards solving an issue that is much greater. An issue that is heavily ingrained into many modern cultures and that should be approached from all angles consistently to achieve substantial change.


Tobacco in Australia 2016, 1.1 A brief history of tobacco smoking in Australia – Tobacco In Australia,  viewed 25 November 2018, <> 2018, Department of Health | Tobacco control timeline, Viewed 26 Nov. 2018,<>

World Health Organization 2018, MPOWER, Viewed 29 Nov 2018, <> 2018, Department of Health | Evaluation of tobacco plain packaging in Australia, Viewed 29 Nov. 2018, <>

Figure 1: NewsComAu 2018, Tobacco giants vow to keep fighting, Viewed 26 Nov 2018, <>

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