Public health

“Zombie” tobacco industry arguments a threat: experts

Wednesday, 9 Sep 2015

The tobacco industry’s epic fight against plain packaging in Australia should not be allowed to become “zombie” arguments in other countries, respiratory experts warn.

Writing in an editorial in Respirology Mike Daube President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Michiaki Mishima, President of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, Peter Eastwood, Editor of Respirology and Matthew Peters, President of TSANZ, said the tobacco companies’ public and well-orchestrated campaigns against plain packaging in Australia tried to foster the notion that the move would bring with it a range of negative outcomes.

For example claims were made that plain packaging would result in a rise in illicit tobacco trade, counterfeiting of the new plain packs, and a substantial drop in prices.

But despite evidence to the contrary from Australia the arguments were now being “assiduously and misleadingly” promoted in other countries, they said.

“The tobacco industry’s arguments failed in Australia; they should not be allowed to become zombie arguments—killed off in one country, but brought back to life in others in the hope that credulous decision-makers will not be aware of experience elsewhere. “

Governments should follow expert health advice and implement this important, evidence-based public health measure, they concluded.

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