Tobacco Industry funded report backfires
A London Economics report commissioned by Philip Morris International launched today tries unsuccessfully to dismiss falls in smoking prevalence and increases in the noticeability of health warnings in Australia after the introduction of plain, standardised tobacco packaging twelve months ago.  
Commenting on the report, Deborah Arnott Chief Executive of the health charity ASH said:
“UK Health Ministers said they wanted to know more about the impact in Australia before making a decision about whether to go ahead with standardised packaging. This tobacco-industry funded report shows exactly what the impact has been, smoking prevalence fell and awareness of health warnings increased dramatically. The Government should stop prevaricating and go ahead now.”
Notes and Links:
 An analysis of smoking prevalence in Australia. London Economics, Nov. 2013 The report is available at: www.londecon.co.uk
 On 1 December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to require all branding imagery to be removed from cigarette packs. At the same time, the size of the health warnings was increased to cover 75% of the front of packs and 90% of the back. Prior to the new law, health warnings covered 30% of the front of the pack and 90% of the back.
 In July 2013, the UK Government announced that it would “wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured” before making a decision on whether to implement standard packaging. (Written Ministerial Statement by Secretary of State for Health, 12th July 2013)
Since then an amendment has been tabled to the Children’s and Families Bill which, if passed, would enable the Government to bring forward measures requiring standardised tobacco packaging. The amendment was debated in the House of Lords on 20 November 2013 and is being re-tabled for vote at Report stage which starts on December 9th.