The Rudd Government’s efforts in health have taken something of a hammering at Croakey in recent times. There have been so many expectations disappointed and questions left hanging.

But let’s give credit where it’s due. The tobacco control announcements (more details here) are huge news for health. The Public Health Association predicts the moves will “over time prevent literally hundreds of thousands of premature deaths from cancer, heart disease and many other conditions”.

“Australia has become the world leader in tobacco control,” the PHA president, Professor Mike Daube, said in a statement yesterday.

The international headlines are certainly running hot. The World Health Organisation is quoted in the New York Times, welcoming the measures as “a new gold standard for the regulation of tobacco products”.

The Canadian Government is under pressure to follow Australia’s lead, reports the Vancouver Sun.

The Australian may be giving space to Tim Wilson of the Institute of Public Affairs to sing  a contrarian view, but there’s no doubting the warmth of the response from the public health crowd (and quite a few Croakey readers, judging by the comments on yesterday’s post).

(Update: and here’s Croakey’s contribution to the international headlines; a news story in the BMJ).

Of course, there is still quite a distance to run to ensure that the plain packs hit the shelves in mid 2012, as planned.

When you look at the image below, you can see why the tobacco industry hates this measure so much. Not exactly enticing is it?

Snapshot 2010-04-30 09-28-16