FoI in Australia: Smokers ignore labels

The next attempt to turn Australians off smoking should involve forcing tobacco companies to reveal cigarette ingredients, a federal government report has recommended.

But the report, obtained by The Australian using Freedom of Information laws, concedes that providing the information to consumers would not actually discourage them from smoking.

In 2000, then federal health minister Michael Wooldridge convinced the three major tobacco companies to voluntarily disclose their cigarette ingredients to allow the government to post the information online.

"In research with smokers, non-smokers, and tobacco control stakeholders, the currently disclosed emissions and ingredient information was seen to be incomprehensible, uninteresting, incomplete and difficult to access," the January 2009 report states. "Most members of the public had not and did not intend to access the information (and) providing members of the public with the disclosed information did not seem to discourage them from smoking."

Smokers don't care about labels (The Australian, 26 March 2009)