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Graphic warnings on the front of cigarette packs the best way to inform smokers

Thursday 11 March, 2004

Quit Victoria says the best way to inform smokers about the health risks of smoking is via prominent health warnings, which include pictures, on the front of cigarette packs.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Todd Harper says the public is entitled to be sceptical of tobacco giant Philip Morris latest proposal to include an insert in cigarette packs detailing the health risks of smoking.

""Do we trust Philip Morris to design an insert that would encourage smokers to quit? The tobacco industry doesn't have a good track record on this issue,"" Mr Harper said .

""The tobacco industry have known of the harms of smoking for decades and done nothing.  It is our belief that a proposal such as this which is controlled by Philip Morris won't reduce smoking.""

“Warnings - with graphic pictures - about the health effects of smoking placed prominently on the front of cigarette packs are most effective. Inserts in cigarette packs have been previously considered and rejected by health bodies because of their limited effectiveness.”

“Today’s insert is tomorrow’s rubbish; it’s easy to ignore or discard a pamphlet. However, the cigarette pack stays with the smoker, and is handled many times a day.”

“Our fear is that this move by Philip Morris is part of a campaign to defeat the Federal Government’s proposal to dedicate 50% of the front of cigarette packs to pictorial health warnings.”

“We’re also concerned that tobacco retailers, with British American Tobacco’s support, have mounted a public campaign against the Federal Government’s proposal to toughen health warnings on cigarette packs.”

The national campaign, headed Enough is Enough, consists of posters and form letters to Health Minister Tony Abbott and Parliamentary Secretary Trish Worth. The letters and posters have been observed in tobacco retail outlets around Australia.

The Federal Government announced in early February a proposal to update existing 'text only’ warnings on cigarette packs with 14 new larger messages which would be accompanied by graphic pictures of the harm caused by smoking and the Quitline number.

“Any moves that delay the immediate introduction of accurate, up-to-date information on cigarette packets for consumers are unacceptable .”

Further information:
Zoe Furman,
Media Communications Manager

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