Smokers are reporting plain packaged cigarettes taste worse than branded — abc perth — australian broadcasting corporation

Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Simon Chapman, says he’s not surprised by the reports.

«We know from internal tobacco industry documents that were made available about 10 years ago after legal action in the US that the companies knew that there is nothing between the brands and that the differentiation is all in the coloured boxes,» he said.

«I think the industry knew that all along, and they knew that a very big rug was about to be pulled out from under them, and that looks like precisely what has happened.»

«From a public health perspective, we couldn’t care less whether smokers are moving from one brand to another, but if people are quitting, which was the whole intent of the plain packaging legislation, then that is a fantastic result.»

While the tobacco companies say they haven’t changed the contents of cigarettes, Professor Chapman says there is nothing to stop them doing that.

«Companies can put whatever they want into cigarettes, including increasing the nicotine, and they don’t have to apply to anybody to do that.»

«Nicotine is out there on its own, unlike pharmaceuticals, food or drink, which has to be approved by regulatory authorities. There is no boundary as to what they can put in.»

Professor Chapman says the major goal of the plain packaging legislation was to discourage young people from taking up smoking, but the bad taste effect has been an unexpected bonus.

Whether the measures are effective on young people will be seen over the next few years.

Research is also taking place into cigarette pricing.

«There’s a large amount of research going on into what the industry is doing in terms of price manipulation,» Prof Chapman says.

«They pay good money to get the brands up at the top of the price boards so people can see them more easily.»

A study of 4,500 Victorian smokers by the Cancer Council has also found that one in four smokers still believe the health effects of smoking have been exaggerated.

The study also found the vast majority of smokers could not link tobacco use with an increased risk of throat cancer and mouth cancer.

View the story «Plain packaging tastes bad» on Storify

Faqs on fire-safe cigarettes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON FIRE SAFE CIGARETTES What is a Fire Safe Cigarette?
Where can I find more information about Fire Safe Cigarettes?

FOR CIGARETTE MANUFACTURERS What do I need to register my Fire Safe Cigarettes?
How often do I need to recertify my cigarettes?
When did this law on Fire Safe Cigarettes take place?
What if my cigarettes are certified in another state already?
What if the name changed on a brand family of one of our cigarettes?
What if physical modifications are made to a brand family that was previously certified?
What if we add a new brand family?

Q What is a Fire Safe Cigarette?
A The most common fire safe technology used by cigarette manufacturers is to wrap cigarettes with two or three thin bands of less porous paper that act as speed bumps to slow down a burning cigarette. If a fire safe cigarette is left unattended, the burning tobacco will reach one of these speed bumps and self extinguish.

The actual term for these cigarettes is reduced ignition propensity cigarettes, which means that there is less tendency for them to continue burning. However, this does not mean that in all instances the cigarettes will not continue to burn, so the same caution should be used regardless of the term fire safe .

Although fire safe is a commonly used descriptor for the reduced ignition propensity cigarettes, keep in mind that there is NO SUCH THING as a truly fire safe cigarette. Any item that relies on ignition in order to function is never really fire safe . Always keep in mind that cigarettes and other similar products should be kept away from children, pets, bedding, upholstered furniture, and anything else that might burn.

Smokers should always use a deep, sturdy ashtray, never smoke while drowsy or using alcohol and/or prescription medications, and follow all safety precautions when exposing of smoking materials, ashes, etc.

Q Where can I find more information about Fire Safe Cigarettes?
A
To learn more about fire safe cigarettes, visit the Fire Safe Cigarette Coalition s website at

Q What do I need to register my Fire Safe Cigarettes?
A
You need a cover letter requesting a review of your product by the state of WV, certification application filled out, a copy of product testing certification by an accredited laboratory for each brand family showing all styles listed (Ultras, Menthols, etc.), pictures (color copy or on CD) of carton artwork showing the FSC logo near the UPC code, a check for $1,000.00 per brand family payable to the WV State Fire Marshal s Office.

Q How often do I need to recertify my cigarettes?
A
You need to recertify every 3 years.

Q When did this law on Fire Safe Cigarettes take place?
A
This law went into effect on July 2009. FSC legislation is Senate Bill 456, which you can download from the Legislature s website.

Q What if my cigarettes are certified in another state already?
A
Although we recognize and accept approved testing from another state, we still require all documentation and fees.

Q What if the name changed on a brand family of one of our cigarettes?
A
If you make a name change to any brand family previously certified by the State of WV, you must submit a letter stating what the name was and what it is now. There is NO additional fee for this.

Q What if physical modifications are made to a brand family that was previously certified?
A If you have made physical modifications to a brand family that was previously certified by the State of WV, those cigarettes must be retested and you must resubmit the information on that brand family with a current report from Arista Laboratories (or whatever approved lab you use) showing that the new cigarettes meet the FSC standards. There is NO additional fee for this.

Q What if we add a new brand family?
A
Even if you are previously certified, if you add a new brand family you must submit all documentation and fees for that brand family.


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