Plain packaging laws could be applied to booze, junk food 88



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Plain packaging and graphic images of the dangers of smoking appear to be working on reducing the numbers of people who smoke. So could this strategy be applied to other unhealthy behaviours?

A lawyer on the side of big tobacco says Australian authorities could look to extending the program to alcohol, soft drinks and junk food, and that tobacco is the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to regulation and litigation.

Benjamin Rubinstein, a senior partner from law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, told Fairfax, “There have been rumbling among the public health community about what’s next: is it just tobacco? What about sugary foods? Fatty foods? What about alcohol?”

He explains that once rules like the plain packaging law, which was passed in Australian in 2011, are applied, tested and shown to be working, the laws “jump the border like a virus”.

“Tobacco litigation came here; it’s gone to other jurisdictions and it’s still playing out in a very big way in Canada,” said Mr Rubenstein.

Ireland introduced similar restrictions in April.

But where to from here?

In New Zealand, Otago University professor of marketing Janet Hoek said tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way cigarettes were marketed. She called on the NZ Government to do the same for junk food, telling the New Zealand Herald, “It makes sense to examine the potential these policies could have in reducing consumption of foods associated with obesity.”

Rob Moodie, professor of global health at University of Melbourne says the the food and drinks industry is using the same tactics as the tobacco and alcohol industry, and that self-regulation (by the industry or individuals) will never be enough to impact public health.

“There’s no way they’re going to move unless there’s regulation in my view. Things won’t change until we get substantial changes to foods that have lower levels of salt, sugar and fat. That probably won’t happen until there’s regulation or the serious threat of regulation,“ Professor Moodie said.

In theory, this could mean chips in plain foil bags and sharing your dinner table with a picture of a cirrhotic liver.

Do you think this will make a difference? Would restrictions on marketing stop you from eating too much unhealthy food, or drinking too much?


Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. This is getting ridiculous. Far better to get rid of all the unnecessary packaging on everyday items. I refuse to buy vegetables and fruit that have been wrapped in glad wrap etc, It just adds to the millions of tonnes of rubbish that needs to be disposed of daily.

  2. I am not a smoker but I don’t think it was the marketing that stopped people smoking, I suspect it the high taxes smoker have to pay. Politicians want to dictate how we live our lives . I am not a drinker either and I don’t eat junk food but what people want in their bodies is their business..NOT the Governments

    1 REPLY
    • Dead right Libbi. The government should stay out of people’s private business/ We are adults and we wont be dictated to as if we can’t decide for ourselves. Shades of the book 1984!

  3. They are already starting to dictate to poor and sick of this country, the welfare card started a trial in Australia last week. These people cannot get money alcohol or cigarettes on this card, and you cannot even get someone a gift voucher instead of a gift. It will start with the disabled and the unemployed and next it will be the pensioners, it is immoral

  4. Plain packaging on booze be good advertising beefs up its qualities using its appearance. Definite. But food not sure probably would help.
    Plain packaging apparently works more on stopping someone starting than getting some one to stop libbi Elliot. ????

    3 REPLY
    • No idea Kerry I don’t smoke but I have friends who do and they tell me the taxes are killing them

    • I’m a meany re smokers. I loath it. I can’t escape the smoke. Other stuff is contained to the user. I don’t smoke either. Obvious huh. I’d like to see if it can help kids not start etc.

  5. Another example of stupid over regulating!!! Anyone who doesn’t know that smoking, eating junk food regularly, over indulging in alcohol etc is unhealthy is a total idiot!! The information on labels is sufficient for us to make choices.
    Govermnents get ” touchy-feely ” and try to make us believe they care about our health.

    1 REPLY
    • People are not in the habit anymore of “reading” anything that is not online. They spend time in front of televisions and believe the ads… if it is on TV it must be true perspective.

  6. Lets face it, the problem exists around bureaucrats spending our money marketing themselves? Sack the majority & wake the rest up to the fact that we rule them, not the other way around! Lets get ’em off their bums & working for the first time?

  7. Cheaper prices on healthy food would encourage
    Everyone, you don’t raise prices, you make healthy
    Food affordable ,and manufactures should start
    Using health produce with out so much artificial crap, if they really want everyone to get healthy.

  8. I eat what I want. Sometimes it’s food or drink that I shouldn’t eat. But that’s the way I roll. I don’t buy based on packaging. I buy based on taste.

  9. I am a smoker , have an occasional social drink and eat healthy . Enjoy a pizza maybe twice a year . I do not need a hypocrital govt. To tell me what i should do or shouldnt do considering the ammount of taxes they collect on these items . It is my choice not theirs !!!!! I thought we lived in a free country

    1 REPLY
    • So am I Liz – the packaging didn’t stop me. I hope it will stop young people but I have seen no evidence of this. When I started there were ashtrays in the office and probably 50% were smokers. No publicity about being bad for you health unfortunately. However I do resent the level of taxes on this addictive product. Smokers are just another easy soft target. My Dad gave up at 82 and is now 95.

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