From 1 January 2012, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Australian parliament is to introduce The Plain Packaging Act. This will see all cigarette brands forced to adopt the above proposed designs, which will include graphic health warnings and only small type at the bottom distinguishing their brand.
Now what immediately springs to mind is that this seems a rather draconian measure, one step away from a complete ban on cigarettes. It forcibly instructs brand how their product will look on the shelves, seemingly contravening ‘freedom of speech’.
However in the long term I do think it is a positive step as the personal and passive effects of smoking can be, and are, life threatening in certain quantities. This act should also reduce snap decision making in shops, and reduce first-time brand engagement, particularly from young people who don’t seem to understand the true health risks.
Does it define Australia as a nanny state? Perhaps, but severe restrictions on cigarette sales have been an eventuality since the true health risks were brought to mass attention in the 1950s..
Just one final question to ponder, what’s next?