An Australian survey has found that the smoking rate has declined in the country following the implementation of a law requiring the sale of cigarettes in plain packaging without branding.
The 2013 National Drugs Strategy Household Survey measured the percentage of Australians aged 14 and older who smoked daily. According to the survey, the smoking rate has fallen from 15.1% in 2010 to 12.8% in 2013.
The Australian government introduced legislation that mandated plain packaging of tobacco products from January 2012, with full implementation from December 2012.
The measure only allows manufacturers to print the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the cigarette pack. Health warnings and other legally mandated information such as toxic constituents and tax-paid stamps are included as part of the packaging.
Australia's results are expected to spur action by other countries considering plain packaging, including the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.
As well as cutting down the attractiveness of the product, research shows that plain packaging increases the noticeability, recall and impact of health warning messages, while reducing the ability of packaging to mislead consumers into believing that some products may be less harmful than others.
Image: The plain packaging measure allows manufacturers to only print the brand name in a mandated size. Photo: courtesy of hinnamsaisuy.