A series of television advertisements announcing an Australia-wide cigarette recall will begin airing across Australia tonight. The new ads are a bold new campaign by health groups to focus attention on the conduct of the tobacco industry.
The new campaign, which was launched today in Melbourne, features renowned comedian John Clarke as the 'head honcho' of a fictitious tobacco company, announcing a cigarette recall 'until we can guarantee the Australian public that our product poses absolutely no threat to your health'.
The satirical style of the new campaign is a departure from approaches used recently by health groups. And the target health groups have in their sights this time is the tobacco industry.
At the launch of the new campaign today, Quit Victoria’s Executive Director Todd Harper said while the campaign was clearly humorous, there’s a very serious message behind it.
'This new ad is a health campaign like you’ve never seen before. We want the community to think about what is an appropriate way to deal with a product and an industry that is responsible for so much death and disease.'
'Clearly, taking cigarettes off the shelves is not the answer, given that so many Australians are addicted to this deadly product.'
'Unlike other products that are recalled because of a flaw or defect, cigarettes are intrinsically harmful. When used as intended by the manufacturer, cigarettes are addictive and deadly.'
'We wouldn’t accept this from any other industry, so why do we accept it from cigarette manufacturers?'
Mr Harper said health groups had developed a five-point plan to tackle the tobacco industry, which includes:
- the adoption of graphic picture warnings on cigarette packs
- a ban on additives in cigarettes like honey, sugar, liquorice and cocoa
- a ban on the use of misleading terms such as 'light' and 'mild'
- a ban on all remaining forms of tobacco advertising and promotion
- exploring options to use monies gained from tobacco to help smokers quit
'The tobacco industry have continued to aggressively promote cigarettes, and resist all efforts to regulate their dangerous and addictive product, even though they have known for years about the health effects of cigarettes.'
'We want to see a ban on cigarette additives. We know that ingredients like cocoa, liquorice, sugar and honey are among over 150 flavourings that are added to cigarettes.
'These additives, when burnt and inhaled, can make cigarettes more palatable to young people and can also make cigarettes more addictive.
'We think Australian smokers have a right to know why these ingredients are added to cigarettes - it’s time the tobacco industry came clean’ and told their consumers exactly why these sugars and spices are added.'
Mr Harper said health groups also hoped the Federal Government would adopt graphic picture warnings on cigarette packs, to replace existing health warnings.
'The health warnings that are currently on cigarette packs were introduced in 1995. Since then, the research on the health effects of smoking has advanced considerably, and it’s time for an update to the existing warnings.'
'We now know smoking causes blindness, impotence, menstrual problems and a host of cancers other than lung cancer, just to name a few. Using cigarette packs is a good way to reach all smokers with this new information.'
'We hope that as part of the Federal Government’s review of existing health warnings, the Quitline number will also be included on cigarette packs. This will be an important way to connect smokers who want to quit with the free support service that has been established by States and Territories to help them.'
The campaign has been funded in Victoria by The Cancer Council Victoria. The new ads can be viewed on Quit’s website at www.quit.org.auFor more information please contact Zoe Furman, Media Communications Manager, Quit Victoria