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Jury still out on plain packaging says Forest

Fri 26th February, 2016

Forest says the jury is still out following the publication of the Australian government's long-awaited post-implementation review (PIR).

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest which runs the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, said:

"The jury is still out on the impact of plain packaging.

"The claim that a quarter of the total decline in smoking rates in Australia is attributable to plain packaging since the legislation was introduced is speculation not fact.

"Figures suggest that plain packaging has made little or no difference. The long-term decline in smoking rates in Australia hasn't deviated from historical trends.

"In the absence of clear evidence the report concludes that the effect of plain packaging is 'likely understated'. In plain English that means 'disappointing'.

"The most likely reason for the continuing fall in smoking rates in Australia is not plain packs but three excise hikes of 12.5 per cent.

"Price not packaging is a far bigger issue for consumers but increasing the cost of tobacco isn't without risk because it drives more smokers to the black market.

"It's clear that plain packaging offers no short-term panacea for tobacco control which is why they have moved the goalposts and are now talking about a 'long-term journey'."

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