Plain packaging laws again upheld

The World Trade Organisation has upheld Labor’s world-first plain packaging laws, in a severe blow to tobacco companies who have tried to undermine these laws from the start.

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE

MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

PLAIN PACKAGING LAWS AGAIN UPHELD

 

The World Trade Organisation has upheld Labor’s world-first plain packaging laws, in a severe blow to tobacco companies who have tried to undermine these laws from the start.

 

The plain packaging laws are a proud Labor legacy and have resulted in tens of thousands of Australians giving up smoking. Labor fought to establish these laws in the face of extremely well-funded resistance from Big Tobacco which continues to this day, with them only ever been given lukewarm acceptance by the coalition.

 

Countless lawsuits in Australia and internationally have been fruitless, and Australia is now setting the world standard in public health measures to prevent smoking, after receiving the backing of the World Health Organisation in 2011.

 

In the wake of Australia’s laws, similar legislation has been introduced or signalled in Canada, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and several other countries. More are expected to follow.

 

“All Australians should be proud of our plain packaging tobacco laws. They have made Australians healthier, and we have provided an example for countries across the world to follow. They are a Labor achievement of which I could not be prouder,” said the Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus.

 

Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King said this decision was great news for public health and bad news for Big Tobacco.

 

“The evidence is clear – these reforms have been an unqualified success in saving lives, improving public health and reducing health costs. These benefits will only accumulate into the future.”

 

While the downwards trend is encouraging, there is still more progress to be made. Australia can’t afford for the Federal Government to take another backwards step when it comes to decreasing tobacco consumption.

 

Each year smoking kills 15,000 people in Australia and the economic and social cost of smoking is estimated at $31.5 billion a year. Smoking continues to be the largest cause of preventable disease and death in Australia. The most recent statistics estimate that 80 per cent of lung cancer burden and 75 per cent of chronic obstructive burden are attributable to tobacco smoking.

 

With today’s decision and the staggering public health impacts of tobacco consumption, it is yet another reminder of how incredible it is that the Nationals continue to be bankrolled by Big Tobacco.

 

FRIDAY, 5 MAY 2017

 

MEDIA CONTACT:PHILLIP CLARKE (DREYFUS) 0498 490 466

 

JOANNE CLEARY 0428 816 751