We believe that consumers are entitled to have relevant information about the tobacco products available to them, including information about product-related health risks, and the steps people can take to minimise them.
We believe that Government has an important responsibility to communicate accurate information to the public about tobacco-related issues. As well as stressing the health risks associated with smoking, we believe these communications should:
- Emphasise that youth should not consume tobacco products;
- Remind tobacco retailers of their responsibility not to sell or otherwise distribute tobacco products to anyone other than an adult;
- Provide advice and encouragement on quitting;
- Encourage moderation among those adults who choose not to quit.
We also consider it essential for Government to draw attention to product attributes that are potentially related to health risks. Government should make it clear to adult consumers choosing between brands, whether brands with lower tar and nicotine yields, for example, are associated with potentially reduced risks.
In our view, tar deliveries are useful consumer information in relation to taste, as are brand descriptors such as ‘lights or ‘ultra-lights’. We do not make health claims about lower tar cigarettes, though science suggests that they should present reduced risks, provided the way people smoke remains consistent when they switch from higher to lower tar yielding cigarettes.
We think that internationally recognised standards – such as those developed by ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation) – should be used for consistent measurement of tar and nicotine yields. Where Government has an alternative view, we believe it should also express that view, and the scientific rationale, clearly.