Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products
7 April 2016: CANSA supports the call from the Secretariat of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that requires tobacco products to have plain packaging and graphic warning signs.
Plain packaging is an important reduction measure, making tobacco products less attractive, restricting the use of tobacco packaging to be used as a form of advertising and limiting misleading packaging and labelling. And the use of graphic (pictorial) package warnings will show the serious harmful effects of tobacco use.
Plain packaging restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information. Other countries that have implemented plain packaging are UK, Northern Ireland and France who all passed laws to implement plain packaging as from May 2016. Tobacco consumption in Australia decreased by 13% during the three years since plain packaging was introduced.
CANSA in Favour of Plain Packaging
Elize Joubert, CANSA’s CEO says, “We’re pleased that the South African Government has already worked on a Draft Bill to this effect. Tobacco still remains one of the biggest killers in the world, albeit in the form of cancer or other tobacco-related diseases. So as part of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, we welcome the stand that the country is taking against tobacco use with plain packaging.”
A recent paper published by Professor Gerard Hastings, a prominent tobacco control researcher from Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling states that: “A number of studies with adult smokers point to plain packaging fulfilling its core aims of reducing appeal, particularly among young adults, and increasing warning salience. In a cross-sectional tracking survey of cigarette smokers, plain packaging was associated with increased thinking about quitting and quit attempts. In addition, dislike of the pack, lower satisfaction from cigarettes and attributing motivation to quit to the warnings predicted daily thoughts of quitting.”
Other Harmful Tobacco Products
Joubert adds, “There’s a misconception, (especially amongst the youth) that cigarettes are the only form of smoking that can be harmful to your health and that is not true. Cigarette smoking isn’t the only harmful smoke – hubbly bubbly, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (such as snuff, chewing-tobacco and ‘snus’) are also harmful to your body.”
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are not a safer option to smoking. They may contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, and it does not make it easier for people to quit smoking. The marketing of e-cigarettes is of major concern, especially as it’s aimed at the youth to promote nicotine addiction and tobacco use.
A hubbly bubbly / hookah smoker actually takes about 100 puffs in a single session (45 min), while a cigarette smoker takes 10 puffs. So, smoking one hookah can give as much nicotine as smoking 10 cigarettes, and no – the water does not filter out the toxins.
Joubert concludes, “We really want people to make educated choices when it comes to smoking, and also about smoking in the presence of other people. As a non-smoker, you have the risk of being exposed to second-hand smoke, which is also harmful to your health. We want to encourage people to quit the habit and reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle to reduce their cancer risk. Sign up for our CANSA eKick Butt programme on www.ekickbutt.co.za”