World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get ready for plain packaging

May 27, 2016

Every year, on 31st May, World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Smoking kills approximately 6 million people a year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

For WNTD 2016, WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling countries to get ready for plain (standardised) packaging of tobacco products.

Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

Interest in plain packaging is progressing across the globe. In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging, following implementation Australia reported a decline in smoking rates.

In 2015, Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and France all passed laws to implement plain packaging from May 2016.

In the United Kingdom, an independent review conducted for the government by leading doctor Sir Cyril Chantler found it: “highly likely that standardised packaging would serve to reduce the rate of children taking up smoking”.

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