A University of Otago researcher has hit back at comments by
a tobacco industry spokesman who said plain packaging would
not reduce tobacco consumption.
On Wednesday British American Tobacco (BAT) general manager
Steve Rush responded to the findings of Otago University's
Aspire2025 research group, which found that two-thirds of
respondents supported plain packaging. Mr Rush said the
research did not prove plain packaging would reduce tobacco
"The research is attitudinal and is based on opinions. It's
about how people think they might behave in the future. It's
not about how people actually behave," he said.
Tobacco packaging did not influence why people started
smoking or quitted, he said.
Prof Janet Hoek, from university's marketing department, hit
back yesterday, saying Mr Rush's remarks about her team's
research were "illogical, unsupported" and ignored a
"well-established evidence base".
"He has trotted out the same tired arguments in a failed
attempt to disguise the fact that there is very strong public
support for plain packaging, and very little sympathy for the
arguments his company is investing hundreds of thousands of
dollars trying to promote.
"We know from experimental work that plain packaging greatly
reduces the perceived and actual experience of smoking," Prof
She also noted that tobacco companies had opposed every
evidence-based tobacco control measure, from the removal of
mass-media advertising, to the requirement for tobacco
packages to feature graphic health warnings.