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Big tobacco wastes government time looking for non-existent smoking gun

Thursday 21 October, 2010
Big tobacco continues to run scared of plain packaging, bombarding the Department of Health and Aging with freedom of information (FOI) requests in a desperate attempt to find ways to stop the most significant health reform in decades.The 19 requests from the industry require the department to scour for documents going back almost 20 years, a well-known tactic to try to divert government resources away from getting the job done.Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said this action shows a desperate industry continuing to clutch at straws.“Packaging remains the last bastion of advertising for big tobacco to market their deadly products. Research shows that young people see cigarettes in plain packs as not looking good, not tasting good, and would think less of people who smoke cigarettes in those packs.”  “Plain packaging will remove any aspiration, sophistication and glamour from cigarettes, potentially save thousands of lives and stop many children from starting to smoke.” CEO of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Anne Jones said if the tobacco industry was preparing to take legal action, it was bound to be fruitless.“Plain packaging will go ahead, no matter how many cumbersome requests the industry tries to lump on the government. There is nothing about plain packaging that is against any law in this country.” “Just last week Health Minister Nicola Roxon reaffirmed her commitment to introducing plain packs in June 2012, and countries from around the world are expressing interest in following our lead. It’s this domino effect the industry is scared of and will do anything to stop.”

“The evidence is clear: plain packaging will prevent many people taking up smoking, especially children and teenagers. We’re talking about saving thousands of lives and no one – outside the tobacco industry - would argue against that.”

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