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NZ Could Learn from Australian Smoker Warnings

28 June 2006
Media Release

New Zealand Could Learn from Graphic Australian Smokers’ Health Warnings

Shocking photographs of gangrenous feet and a mouth rotted by cancer are responsible for 9000 people calling the Australian smoking Quitline last month (May) – the highest record in a single month.

It’s a result the New Zealand Cancer Society believes could be replicated in this country if cigarette packaging health warnings were as graphic and prominent as they are in Australia.

With the Ministry of Health considering the introduction of pictorial health warnings here in New Zealand, the Cancer Society has highlighted the positive impact pictorial health warnings are having in Australia.

New research from Australia shows that the new graphic (pictorial) health warnings on cigarettes, which were introduced there in March this year, are encouraging Australians to quit smoking in their droves.

“The Australia Quitlines are seeing large increases in the number of people seeking help to quit smoking since graphic health warnings were introduced there in March this year,” says Belinda Hughes, Tobacco Control Adviser with the Cancer Society.

Tobacco companies have been opposing the introduction of large pictorial health warnings and have claimed that they don’t work.

“This result illustrates that large graphic health warnings are an important tool in supporting and encouraging smokers to quit,” Ms Hughes says. “The Australian Cancer Institute reports the launch of the gangrene advertisement is having an incredible effect.’

The Cancer Society is encouraging the Ministry of Health to increase the proposed size of the new pictorial health warnings on cigarettes.

“We are also encouraging the Ministry of Health to fund an educational campaign when the pictorial health warnings are introduced here, as they have done in Australia,” Ms Hughes says.

“Having the media campaign in addition to the warnings has helped build on the impact of the new warnings in Australia.”



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