Let’s get the disclosures of interest out of the way first. I’m a dedicated smoker who has worked for tobacco companies.

I do not give two hoots about what package the cigarettes come in, but, because they don’t all taste and act the same, I like to know what it is I am buying.

Which brings me to the new health warnings for tobacco products that are planned to complement the impact of the drab olive-brown background it has proposed to cover cigarette packs from next July released today by Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

AAP reports that the latest warnings and graphics will cover 75 per cent of the front of the cigarette pack instead of the current 30 per cent. The renewal of the graphic images and the increase in size was recommended in a review of the warnings to avoid their impact decreasing with familiarity. The images and text deal with diseases and conditions that have been proven to be caused or exacerbated by smoking, including bladder cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer, peripheral vascular disease and emphysema. Ms Roxon told a press conference in Canberra:

“The new graphic health warnings are a striking and confronting reminder of the death and disease that tobacco brings and are a proven, effective way of helping people to kick this deadly habit.
“Plain packaging and graphic health warnings mean that the glamour has gone.”

Personally I do not care what size and how graphic the images are. But I do wonder why it is, if they are considered to be such an effective deterrent to smoking, that the packets containing them are by law hidden away in shops from public view. Far better I would have thought to make their prominent display compulsory so the message can not be avoided.

Just a thought.