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Health groups welcomes ACCC action on ‘kiddie’ cigarette packs

Tuesday 24 April, 2007

The VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control and VicHealth have welcomed an announcement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that BAT's Dunhill ‘kiddie' packs of cigarettes are to be removed from the Australian market.

The action follows complaints from health groups that the ‘kiddie packs', introduced by British American Tobacco onto the Australian market last year, did not meet labelling requirements for health warnings on tobacco products.

The VCTC's Director of Law and Regulation, Mr Jonathan Liberman, said although the action to remove ‘kiddie packs' is positive, the need to scrutinize the activities of the tobacco industry, especially in relation to how they use the pack, remains.

"The tobacco industry is increasingly dependent on the pack as a means to make its product appear more attractive, so the next packaging innovation will be just around the corner."

"Forcing the tobacco industry to adopt plain packaging is the only way to effectively deal with the problem of the tobacco industry using packaging to make these deadly products seem more attractive, or in some cases less harmful."

Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth, Mr Todd Harper, said the ACCC's action highlighted the importance of graphic health warnings on cigarettes, and sent a message to those attempting to undermine their effectiveness.

"By introducing these ‘kiddie packs,' BAT was shamelessly attempting to dilute the impact of graphic health warnings."

"It is pleasing to see the ACCC take action that should discourage the tobacco industry from using the cigarette pack as a blank canvas to water down and avoid graphic health warnings, which we know are a strong deterrent to smokers."

Mr Harper also supported the push for plain packaging on cigarettes as an effective means of closing down a major avenue for aggressive tobacco industry tactics that use the pack as the primary method of promotion.


ends

Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Vellar@cancervic.org.au

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