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Experts pushing to increase graphic warnings on cigarette packets

Deborah Knight

When it comes to health risks associated with smoking, lung cancer is likely what comes to mind first.

But smoking cigarettes can also cause leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis and even infertility.

A survey from Cancer Council Victoria found a number of Australians are still unaware of the full range of health impacts caused by smoking.

While most respondents knew about the lung cancer risk, awareness of other conditions varied.

Head of Prevention Craig Sinclair tells Deborah Knight the findings are “not too surprising”.

“Where we’ve had high awareness, that’s not too surprising given we’ve had public education campaigns also focusing on that, supporting the graphic health warnings.

“Where we’ve had the awareness very low is when we haven’t had the benefit of the graphic health warnings highlighting the issue.”

He’s calling for cigarette packaging to be redesigned to further boost knowledge about the harms of tobacco.

“There’s no question the ads are effective.

“Certainly we know that the graphics campaigns are effective… so we need to continue that investment.

“The opportunity to revive the graphic health warnings to include some of the lesser-known but high-impact diseases, and combine that with broader public education, we know that will make a difference.”

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