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Just 12.8% of Australians over the age of 14 are now smoking on a daily basis. Flickr: noahvoelker

Plain packs help deter young smokers as uptake drops to new low

Evidence is mounting that plain cigarette packaging is helping prevent young people from becoming addicted, life-long customers of big tobacco. From January 2012, all tobacco products have been sold in…
Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Eschipul

Beware, secret trade deals can seriously damage your health

If I asked you to name some of the current threats to your health, “international trade law” probably wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue. Yet trade agreements, and the way we negotiate them, can affect…
Not so cool. Nick Perry/AP/PA

Tobacco companies are savvy about the power of branding

In 1952 the first paper was published linking smoking with death. About 50 years later governments around the world started to ban smoking advertising from TV, billboards and sporting venues. Then, eventually…
Tobacco use causes more than five million deaths every year across the world. MilitaryHealth/Flickr

Medical journals refuse to publish tobacco-funded research

Editors of journals published by the BMJ Group will no longer consider publishing research that is partly or wholly funded…
Tobacco kills at least half of users - lobbyists are smaller fry. Brittany Perry

I have more faith in people than tobacco lobbyists

I recently interviewed Nicola Roxon, the former minister responsible for cleaning up Australia’s public health policy through legislation on standardised tobacco packaging. It shed some light on how public…
The tobacco industry has stated publicly that it’s helping countries bring claims against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law. LUKAS COCH/AAP

Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law at the WTO

Earlier this month, Cuba became the fourth country to challenge Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law by requesting consultations with Australia through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Tobacco companies…
Big Tobacco’s planners eye their world maps and salivate over large, poorly educated populations. Image from shutterstock.com

Big Tobacco losing ground on plain packs but homing in on world’s poor

Plain packing has been a reality for Big Tobacco in Australia for three months now; New Zealand announced last week it will follow suit; and at least four other nations, including India, are also considering…
Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Kylie May; shutterstock.com; Morberg; Pranjal Mahn

2012, the year that was: Health + Medicine

It promised to be a full year of reforms: pokies legislation, front-of-pack food labels and a dental system that doesn’t cost those in need an arm and a leg. But while we did see cigarette companies forced…
The High Court decision is not a quirk of Antipodean constitutional law, as alleged by British American Tobacco. AAP

The High Court and the Marlboro Man: the plain packaging decision

The High Court of Australia’s ruling on the plain packaging of tobacco products is one of the great constitutional cases of our age. The ruling will resonate throughout the world - as other countries will…
Sweden is ahead of many nations in anti-smoking efforts but it’s not at the head of the class. Jess Pac

My complacent country: why Sweden has long way to go on tobacco reform

In general, Swedes tend to have a good self-image. Not necessarily of ourselves as individuals but of Sweden and Swedes as a whole. The general view is that we are more democratic, liberal, rational, equal…
It’s time for the Future Fund to end its deadly addiction to tobacco investment. Robert Huffstutter

No future? End the Future Fund’s affair with Big Tobacco

Australia has shown outstanding leadership on tobacco control - but it could do more. The next step is surely for the Future Fund to quit its addiction to tobacco investments. The Gillard government’s…
There’s a broad base of public support for government action against smoking in New Zealand. Barbara Walton/AAP

Big Tobacco on the warpath against plain packaging in New Zealand

The tobacco industry has launched an advertising campaign against the New Zealand government’s proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. According to the media campaign, plain packaging…
Tobacco control campaigns succeed because they’re realistic and amenable to implementation. giannisl/Flickr

Bring on the end of tobacco use – but not a total ban tomorrow

The High Court decision to reject Big Tobacco’s case against plain packaging was not a surprise – but it was nonetheless a stunning victory for the government and for public health. But there is still…

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