November 30, 2017
by Forest EU

Plain packaging in Australia: an ‘odious law and a fiasco’ says European smokers’ group

Forest EU urges European governments and the EC to distance themselves from a policy that represents the opposite of good governance.

Brussels, November 30th, 2017 – For immediate release

December 1st, 2017, marks the five-year anniversary of obligatory plain packaging of tobacco products in Australia.

Reacting to the milestone, Guillaume Périgois, director of European smokers’ group Forest EU said:

“Australia’s experimentation with plain packaging is a fiasco. Some claimed that such a ban would curb smoking prevalence but five years later there is no noticeable effect.

“Data collected by the Australian government shows there is no evidence that plain packaging leads to a decline in smoking prevalence. There were as many smokers in Australia in 2016 as in 2013.”

In Europe plain packaging was fully implemented from January 2017 in France and May 2017 in the United Kingdom. All packs will be plain in Ireland from September 2018.  A number of other European governments have adopted or are considering plain packaging.

Urging European governments to take note of the outcome of plain packaging in Australia, Périgois said:

“Governments and the European Commission should distance themselves from a policy that represents the opposite of good governance. It doesn’t achieve its goal, it’s disproportionate, unjustified and unnecessary.”

He added:

“Mandatory ugly packaging, sometimes called ‘plain’, is yet another attempt to denormalise a legal product and stigmatise those who consume it.

“Bullying smokers to quit is odious and futile. Consumers are already aware of the health risks associated with smoking.

“It’s time for governments and health lobbies to stop using smokers as laboratory mice for their extreme policies.”


Note for editors:

  • For more information, please contact Forest EU Director Guillaume Périgois on +32 4 78 98 07 43 or at
  • Forest EU is an advocacy campaign informing smokers about issues that affect them in the European Union and engaging with stakeholders so the views of informed adults are taken into account within the EU’s decision-making process. Since 1979, Forest has been the leading voice in defending the rights of tobacco consumers and tolerant non-smokers. Forest EU doesn’t encourage smoking and represents the consumer, not the tobacco industry. For more information, visit

Featured image: “Sydney” by Corey Leopold under licence (CC BY 2.0)