Essay: Plain tobacco

Plain tobacco is a phenomenon that got a lot of attention this last decade. We all know that smoking is not good for your health, but how do we make people (in particular the youth) so much aware of this that they will stop (or will not start) smoking? One great option, according to Australia, is plain tobacco packaging.
A lot of countries discussed, the few last years, the plain tobacco packaging. For example, Ireland and the United Kingdom currently introduced this Act of plain tobacco packaging. The effect is that these countries have to produce only cigarette plain packs from 2016. Australia has been doing this since 2012. They are a leader in this area of the world (Baldwin, 2015). By using this kind of packaging, the number of smokers will decrease, this means it is a very good thing to make people aware of the seriousness of the situation. In Australia, on the first of December 2011, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act was approved and became reality. This Act was Royal Assent so it became law (Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department). The aim of this Act is to make smoking less attractive and appealing to adults and, especially, to children (Baldwin, 2015). It already has effect on the school children between the age 12-17, because they are less attracted to smoking cigarettes because they find the package less appealing (Baldwin, 2015). First it was meant to be only focused on health warnings, like the pictures of the lungs of lung cancer patients or a message on the cigarette packs. For example: ‘Smoking causes mouth and throat cancer’ or ‘Tobacco smoke is toxic’. But now people also see it as a marketing tool against smoking and the tobacco industry itself (Hammond, 2010). Because of this kind of packaging, people are more aware of how bad smoking actually is. This increases the number of people who are considering to actually quit smoking (Baldwin, 2015). With this Act, the Australian government (and every other country who will adopt this law) can significantly decrease the attractiveness and originality of the cigarette packaging by adjusting the color of the packaging and removal of all branding from the packaging. Also they can adjust the size, method of opening and the shape of the packaging, what seems to play a big role in the attractiveness of the package (University College London, 2013). Now the cigarettes have to be sold in a drab dark brown, unsavory, distasteful, logo-free packaging in Australia (Baldwin, 2015). It appears to be a very cost-effective and prominent way to control the consummation of tobacco by using this plain tobacco packaging Act (Hammond, 2010). With this, the Australian government tries to reduce the percentage of smokers on the long term health by the Australian population (but mainly among youngsters). Reducing the percentage of smokers is one of the bullet points of Australia, because the death percentage by smoking is the leading cause of preventable death (Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department). Between the year 2004 and 2005 more than 14900 Australian citizens died because of the effect of smoking. These are preventable deaths which mean that there were 40 deaths every single day that could have prevented (State Government of Victoria, 2014). There have been a lot of studies and reports from international public health experts which said that tobacco plain packaging indeed is a legitimate public health measure (Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department). Because of there were so many studies and researches about this plain packaging in (mainly) Australia, there is proof that came out of several studies, that indicates that there are three primary benefits of this type of packaging. The first one is that the effectiveness of health warnings will be increased. The second one is the removal of false health beliefs who mislead the consumer about cigarettes. Finally the last one is that the brand appeal will be, especially among youth and young adults, reduced. (Hammond, 2010). The tobacco industry has always been extremely powerful. They are very innovative and can afford a lot of money to invest in marketing. Because of the fact that is illegal to advertise tobacco products, these company’s use the package itself to influence the consumer. In Asia they even have glow in the dark ink on the packages or other pleasingly factors to make the product more attractive. It is a life style and a glamorous product they try to sell. The idea of plain tobacco packaging is that this all will disappear. It will not be a nice, glamorous lifestyle anymore when a package is full of pictures and messages about how awful smoking is. The symbol of fashion and prestige will disappear and will make way for taboo. (Baldwin, 2015). A big and powerful country like Australia plays a role model for the whole world. Smoking is not only a huge problem in Australia, but all over the world as well. Tobacco is a very major (preventable) problem, that leads to many deaths each year, over the whole world. Australia has introduced this new policy first so if this Act has effect in Australia, the whole world can take advantage of these results and do the same. (Baldwin, 2015). If the results about plain tobacco packaging, in Australia, are positive, this should be applied worldwide. Smoking brings very nasty diseases with them. At a time when we know so much off of the dangers of smoking, it is too ridiculous for words that people still massively smoke. Time for a change!

Source: Essay UK -

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