May 31, 2016

Australia leads the world on World No Tobacco Day

Australia’s success in implementing plain packaging for cigarettes is being recognised on World No Tobacco Day (31 May).

This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling other countries to get ready for plain (standardised) packaging of tobacco products.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO, Heather Allan, said Australia was the first country to fully implement plain packaging in December 2012.

“Last year, Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and France all passed laws to implement plain packaging from May this year,” Mrs Allan said.

“Several other countries are also in advanced stages of considering adoption of plain packaging laws.”

Plain packaging is an important demand reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.

Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

Mrs Allan said 75 per cent of smokers want to quit1 and 40 per cent try at least once per year.2

Mrs Allan said smoking was the single greatest cause of preventable illness and death in Australia.3

“People who quit smoking will experience immediate health benefits4 and avoid the impact of the future rounds of tobacco tax increases.”

Research shows the most successful way to quit smoking is with the support of a healthcare professional. Only three to five per cent of unassisted quit attempts are successful compared to up to 30 per cent of those that use healthcare professional support and stop-smoking medication.5,6

Talking to a GP or pharmacist about a personalised quit smoking plan can motivate people, teach practical quitting skills and build a supportive environment for the quitting journey.

“Using medication as part of your quit smoking plan will also increase your chances of quitting by up to three times7, and will ease the physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal and reduce cravings8,” Mrs Allan said.

To find out more about how you can quit smoking, visit for tips and information.



[1] Mullins R., Borland R. Do smokers want to quit? Aust N Z J Public Health 1996; 20(4):426-7.

[2] Cooper J., Borland R., Yong H.H. Australian smokers increasingly use help to quit, but number of attemps reamins stable: findings from the International Tobacco Control Study 2002-09. Aust N Z J Public Health 2011; 35(4):368-76.

[3] Begg S., Vos T., Barker B. et al. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE 82.Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, p76.

[4] Jha P, Ramasundarahettige C, Landsman V, et al. 21st-Century Hazards of Smoking an Benefits of Cessation in the United States. NEJM 2013. 368:341-350.

[5] Hughes JR, Keely J, Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers. Addiction. 2004; 99(1): 29-38.

[6] Fiore M, Jaen C, Baker T, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Rockville MD: USDHHS, U.S. Public Health Service. 2008.

[7] Cahill K, Stevens S, Perera R, Lancaster T. Pharmacological interventions for smocking cessation: an overview and network meta-analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; 5: CD009329.

[8] Zwar N, Richmond R, Borland R, et al. Supporting smoking cessation: a guide for health professionals. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 2014. Accessed 28 May 2015