When the Australian High Court forced tobacco manufacturers to sell cigarettes in packaging without their distinctive colours and logos from December last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) applauded this decision, saying that it was the right thing to do to protect the health of Australia’s youth.
However, in a shock twist yesterday, it was revealed that the take up of smoking amongst young people has actually climbed 300 percent, with the legally mandated plain packaging providing the attraction.
“The problem isn’t so much the drab brown packaging itself,” a WHO spokesperson, Glenn Thomas, said.
“It’s the images and warnings that are on it. Children as young as two have been witnessed smoking their last cigarette, then giving the empty pack to an older child to cut out the graphic and textual warnings for them. These are then traded just as cigarette cards used to be. The WHO hasn’t seen anything like this since the banning of candy sticks on the basis that they look like cigarettes.”
Well, if you ask this reporter, the whole idea of ‘plain packaging’ is that it is PLAIN. Otherwise, one can expect to see children being attracted by the rather ghoulish images and text that are so abundant now.