In December 2012 Australia adopted a draconian anti-smoking policy in plain packaging. The evidence seems to suggest this policy has failed to substantially reduce smoking prevalence in Australia. At about the same time (2012) vaping became very popular in the UK.
So how has that worked out? Last week the UK released its latest smoking prevalence data. Unlike Australia where that data comes out on a three-year cycle, the UK data are annual.
Anyway I plotted the data for Australia and the UK. (The UK counts individuals over the age of 18, while Australia normally includes individuals over 14 – so I have used the over 18 data for Australia for consistency.)
If the objective of policy is to get people to stop consuming combustible cigarettes then plain packaging isn’t the policy to adopt.
Update: In comments below Donna points out that I have compared Australian daily smoking data to the UK current smokers data and I should compare Australian current smokers data to the UK current smokers data. Quite right. Thank you for that.