Norway adopts standardised packaging to save lives and prevent suffering from tobacco use

©THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

9 December 2016, Oslo - UICC and the Norwegian Cancer Society are delighted to report that Members of the Norwegian Parliament have overwhelmingly voted in favour of implementing standardised packaging for tobacco products.

This builds on the success of similar plain packaging measures implemented in Australia in 2012. Across the Parliament, a significant majority of politicians endorsed the standardised packaging recommendations - despite intense lobbying by the tobacco industry to sway politicians against this measure - which are due to be introduced at the same time as the EU Tobacco Products Directive measures on packaging and labelling.

Tobacco advertising is deadly. It seeks to encourage people to use a product that is highly addictive and kills almost half of its long-term users. Today, Norway becomes one of the first countries in the world to introduce standardised cigarette packs and the first country to standardise smokeless tobacco boxes. Smokeless tobacco use has increased dramatically among young people in Norway during the last decade and the new measure will contribute to ensure that children and young people never start with tobacco and thus avoid tobacco-related suffering and death.

Anne Lise Ryel, Secretary General of the Norwegian Cancer Society said: “Norwegian politicians have taken a historic step forward to reduce the consequences of tobacco advertising. Advertising works, especially with children. Norway was the first country in the world to introduce bans on all traditional forms of advertising of tobacco products. Ever since, cigarette packs have become mini billboards for tobacco industry marketing. With this morning’s event, the tobacco industry loses its last vehicle to lure children into addiction, disease and possibly death. This is truly a ground-breaking public health reform and a landmark day for the cancer cause.“

Following the passage of these recommendations, the Norwegian Cancer Society congratulated Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie for his leadership in support of the measure in the face of persistent pressure and campaigning from the tobacco industry, and UICC wishes to add its voice to the congratulations.

For further information, please contact Erik Vigander, Head of Media Relations at the Norwegian Cancer Society, by mail Erik.Vigander@kreftforeningen.no or phone: +47 901 33 771.