Australia is considering banning menthols and making cigarettes look ugly to lower smoking rates
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Menthol cigarettes could be banned, and tobacco packets might bear new warnings in the latest move to deter Australians from smoking.
ABC News reported that a more aggressive plan could soon be implemented across the country to further reduce the number of people taking up the habit.
Among these changes, cigarettes might even be manufactured in unappealing colours with warnings printed on the actual cancer stick rather than just the packet.
Health Minister Mark Butler said he wants the nation to emerge as a world leader in tobacco control as we are now a ‘laggard’.
Just like with plain packaging, these reforms may be hard-fought. Our Government is up for the fight. We will reclaim Australia’s reputation as a world leader in tobacco control.— Mark Butler MP (@Mark_Butler_MP) November 30, 2022
"We know that the tobacco industry has innovated by trying to make individual sticks or individual cigarettes more attractive, more marketable, in the plain packaging," he said, according to the ABC.
"We want to remove that advantage that the tobacco industry has sought to find for itself."
He said he hopes the reforms - the biggest since the distribution of plain packaging - will decrease smoking drastically in the next decade.
"The aim is to achieve a national daily smoking prevalence of less than 10 per cent by 2025, in just three years, and five per cent or less by 2030," he said.
While the designs of the new cigarettes are still underway, Mr Butler said they would emulate countries like Canada.
"I want to see a discussion about colours that make them unattractive, about dissuasive messages on individual sticks, which the Canadian government has just indicated they're going to go forward with," he said.
Aside from changes occurring for cigarettes, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is also seeking public comment to introduce reforms for nicotine vaping products.
“The potential reforms are aimed at preventing children and adolescents from accessing nicotine vaping products, while supporting access to products of known composition and quality for smoking cessation with a doctor’s prescription,” they said in a statement.
They added: “Children are continuing to access nicotine vaping products in higher numbers, and many adults are accessing them on the black market, rather than lawfully with a prescription from an Australian registered doctor.”
The public consultation will be open until January 16, 2023, and feedback can be submitted via the TGA Consultation Hub.