Australia's world-leading introduction of plain cigarette packaging appears to have triggered a significant spike in callers to Quitline.
Researchers from the University of Sydney and Cancer Institute NSW studied calls to Quitline in NSW over nine years to see how plain packaging had changed the volume of calls when taking into account other factors that may influence calls, such as anti-tobacco advertising campaigns, the changing price of tobacco, the number of smokers in the community and seasonal peaks observed in the New Year period.
Statistical modelling to screen out the impact of these factors found plain packaging triggered a 78 per cent jump in weekly calls to Quitline NSW from 363 in the week before plain packaging began on October 1, 2012, to 651 four weeks later. The effect lasted for about 10 months, during which calls gradually decreased to roughly the same levels before the new packs hit the market.
A tobacco flack says that there's no evidence that people have actually stopped smoking. but actions speak louder than words - and the fact that they're fighting tooth and nail to reverse the law and prevent other countries from adopting similar laws tells us everything we need to know. Plain packaging is bad for the tobacco industry. Therefore, it is good for us. We should be enacting our own law as quickly as possible.