We’re nearly at the day where we (officially) won’t be able to tell the difference between packets of Winnie Blues, Marlboros and Long Beaches. From Saturday, durrie packets have to be coloured a particularly foul brown.

“Look you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms”

But what’s stunning is how little fight the tobacco industry has put up against the packaging laws.

The industry’s attempts to stop plain packaging gained no traction right from the very beginning, when a group posing as a representative for convenience stores popped up, stressing the economic impact of plain packaging on your local servos and 7-Elevens.

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  • Other side says:

    06:29pm | 29/11/12

    Vice isn’t a problem - the *attempted enforcement* of vice is the problem. If I couldn’t walk to my local anything and buy smokes - I probably wouldn’t. If I had to go to a coded place and say a password or get my tobacco from a dealer.. I’d probably… Read more »

  • PW says:

    04:55pm | 29/11/12

    “But what’s stunning is how little fight the tobacco industry has put up against the packaging laws.” And here I was thinking they fought it tooth and nail all the way to the highest court in the land, as well as some international tribunal. Read more »


E-cigarettes. Have you ever tried one?

They're electronic. I don't know if she likes them very much though… Picture: Thinkstock

The TGA’s looking at the impact any new regulations could have on them. It’s a bit silly at the moment because you can buy them with nicotine online - but not in Oz. Some commenters reckoned they got off real cigs because of them - others, like Laurel May, just got dizzy.

And hey. It’s Thursday! What’s on your mind?

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  • Achmed says:

    07:59pm | 27/09/12

    Before people race off and vote for Abbott a few questions need to be answered about his carbon plan. Like how much taxpayer money will he be giving the polluters from the budget? How much is it going to cost to police and make sure the taxpayer is spent properly… Read more »

  • LJ Dots says:

    07:43pm | 27/09/12

    Speaking of MIA, where is nossy these days? (serious question btw) or have I missed something? Read more »


Smoking is bad. Big tobacco is evil. These truisms are as entwined as pies and sauce. Therefore, the plain packaging of cigarette packets must be a progressive step, given tobacco companies have spent tens of millions of dollars fighting the idea. Yesterday, the High Court made such legislation binding.

An industry so scary they now make funny movies about it…

Even smokers might gloat at the idea of tobacco companies being flogged in a courtroom. And Australia, once again, gets a gold medal for showing the world how it should be done, which is a step up at least from some of ourl male swimmers.

It was a “victory for all families who had lost someone to a tobacco-related disease” said a Gillard Government press release.  It was “a relief for every parent”. “For anyone who has ever lost someone, this is for you.” Cigarettes, it seemed, have been reinvented.

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  • Pigliotto says:

    03:24pm | 19/08/12

    “I’m getting pretty damn tired of living in the most lawed country in the world.” What on earth does “lawed” mean? Please provide a definition, and, additionally; evidence for your proposition. Read more »

  • UlyssesBlue says:

    05:08pm | 18/08/12

    Those who are calling your idea ridiculous are clearly unaware that other countries (Japan comes to mind) have already adopted the idea of public smoking rooms, and they work spectacularly well. I’d love to see them trialled here. Essentially they consist of a glass-enclosed space fitted with a fan and… Read more »


Cigarette /sıgə’rєt/ n. a pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool at the other.

Hey Bogie, want a cigarette? C'mon. Do you want one?

The good thing about writing about smoking is that for once I don’t have to watch my words. Nothing I say could possibly offend smokers more than the government’s shock tactics and cigarette packets themselves.

Those of the self-poisoning persuasion are the one section of society you can tear to pieces with impunity. They’ve been told a million times they’re not wanted. I imagine they’re so stressed out by the merciless attack that they need a cigarette.

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  • Robert says:

    03:12pm | 10/01/12

    It’s not just the smoking pollution from the cars, it’s also the horrible noise they make.  The self-centred stinky motorists don’t give a stuff about how many lives they wreck, or how many people get lung cancer, or how badly they’ve polluted the planet - so long as they can… Read more »

  • Hannah says:

    04:20pm | 09/01/12

    Hi onlooker, tobacco as a plant hasn’t changed over the years however the content of cigarettes has, yes. Your grandfather was smoking a much simpler cigarette, that contained mostly tobacco (and no filter). Tobacco is still not good for you but the chemical additives that are now in ciggarettes are… Read more »


Many smokers and, at a guess, pretty much every cufflink-wearing executive from the big tobacco companies have a habit of posturing as macho libertarians. They argue that cigarettes are a legal product, smoking is a matter of choice, and that when it comes to telling us how we can live our lives, the nanny state can go stick it in its pipe and smoke it.

Anyone in these parts bulk-bill?

This is all fine, up to a point. And that point is when smokers get sick and automatically assume that it is the job of the health system – that is, the taxpayers – to step in and cover the cost of their collapsed lungs, clogged arteries and triple bypasses.

It is a logically inconsistent position and, frankly, quite a pathetic one. If smokers and the tobacco industry are going to be hairy-chested about the manner in which they live their life, they should also be held to account for the manner of their death. I write that not as some clean-living puritan, but one of those poor sad dills who has become addicted to this stupid drug, but who is now happily (and hopefully) in the final stages of a victorious battle against nicotine, setting aside last week’s beer-fuelled regression at the office Christmas party.

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  • Gordon Green says:

    06:41pm | 17/04/12

    Would it be fair, if any illnesses or treatment for any smoking related disease be made unavailable to smokers? I think the smokers would revolt and go up in arms over such a ruling. However, have they stopped to spare a thought that what we non-smokers are doing right now… Read more »

  • Nicole says:

    10:11pm | 20/12/11

    Just wanted to add, my husbands father was a young 63 when he succumbed to lung cancer and will miss out on seeing his grandchildren which we plan on having in the next 5 years. He had retired in the last 5 years and enjoyed it golfing - but he… Read more »


In the gruesome final scene of Martin Scorcese’s remake of Cape Fear, the sadistic murderer Max Cady has been bashed with a plank, burned with lighter fluid, thrown off the side of a houseboat and is finally drowning in a river. As he sinks into the water he starts speaking in tongues, struggling to keep his mouth above the waterline as he shouts random free-form gibberish before finally drowning.

I laugh in the face of the nanny state.

I was reminded of this scene while listening to a woman from a cigarette company on the radio this week as she put forward the tobacco industry’s arguments, if you can call them that, against plain packaging.

Despite having a long-standing fondness for the gaspers, and a firm belief that adults should be free to do whatever they like, I don’t ever think I have heard such nonsense in my life. This industry, which in essence is in the death business, is itself in its death throes. As it sinks further into the abyss it is thrashing about spouting nonsense in defence of its right to sell demonstrably deadly products.

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  • Ian1 says:

    10:30am | 06/07/11

    @Facepalm - “alcohol has NEVER “been next” and is still not going to be next.” In your face!  How’s your lack of clairvoyance going? Read more »

  • Domenic Greco says:

    02:36pm | 20/06/11

    Sure reasonably expensive but not to small independent businesses…and all it will do is open the flood gate on black market and allow supermarkets and discounters to grow market share…. Making non smokers pay extra tax because they live longer would be reasonably inexpensive too…how short sighted can you be? Read more »


Plain packaging of tobacco products has great potential to reduce the appeal of smoking, particularly among young people, and should be supported if Australians want to see death and disease from tobacco use continue to decline.

You just won't look tough with a packet of these tucked into your rolled-up flannie

Simple, really. But unfortunately the facts have been difficult to read amid the smoke and mirrors, sound and fury. So consider this:

Fact: Glossy, stylised cigarette packets are a valuable marketing tool for attracting new smokers. This has been shown in Cancer Council research and dozens of other Australian and international studies, not to mention documents obtained from tobacco companies.

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  • acotrel says:

    06:29am | 21/04/11

    @Huey ‘Wrong! plain bloody wrong! Alcohol takes that cake every time. ‘ One usually goes with the other.  How do you distinguish and declare alcohol the winner over cigarettes, in the death stakes?  Are you adding the road toll to the alcohol toll? How many people die with strokes, pnuemonia,… Read more »

  • Mensur Cehic says:

    01:04am | 21/04/11

    It’s a sad, sad part of human history. To allow the push marketing of such a poisonous substance onto worldwide populations.. Tobbacco: A weapon of mass destruction unleashed on us. We have spent the entire industrial age making smoking look like a normal part of life. A collection of carcinogenic… Read more »


Commonsense, let alone science, tells us that no level of smoking is safe or healthy.

Ah, the good old days!

Yet 2.9 million Australians smoke each day and smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in Australia.  Each year smoking kills 15,000 Australians and costs the economy more than $31 billion.

With this sort of impact, we can’t afford not to act. By not acting to reduce smoking, we’re standing by letting people die.

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  • nba basketball says:

    09:43pm | 27/02/12

    Unbelievable. Class..! Read more »

  • Colin Fraser says:

    11:02pm | 01/02/11

    No doubt you do not understand the concept of sarcasm. While it may be considered by some a low form of wit, it is often accurately gauging the perceptions of the people who misunderstand it. Prohibition never works. Never, never, never. It does not matter what is banned, what is… Read more »


Way back (on this day) in 1586, Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco plant to England from Virginia.

And it’s Tuesday, so what’s on your mind?

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  • Jon says:

    09:05am | 28/07/10

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, makes a lot more sense than all of those who masquerade as political elites in Australia. Most of whom are bogged down in the mental quagmire of cultural relativism. Read more »

  • deb says:

    07:44am | 28/07/10

    nicole,my hours have been cut.if i work on the weekend i must finish after 4 hours regardless .too bad if the room i am cleaning isnt finished ,just leave.the people i work for are not puts pressure on me to rush the job and not do my usual proper… Read more »


It’s customary to denounce government ministers for being ineffective but for something different today I’m going to attack the Health Minister Nicole Roxon for being far too effective.

Nicola Roxon posing with a flock of bananas. Photo: Kym Smith

More so than any other frontbencher in this government Roxon appears to have got her way on pretty much everything and, as a result, life has becoming increasingly more irritating for those of us who choose to treat our bodies like a science experiment.

Early last year, when cigarettes cost a paltry $12 a packet, as opposed to the new price of $286 a packet, I had the pleasure of bumping into Ms Roxon in the gardens outside the House of Representatives chamber at Federal Parliament, where I happened to be stubbing out a cigarette in the ashtray. “You don’t have to put that out because of me,” she joked, although there was a vaguely maniacal glint in her eye, as if she was going to finish the sentence by saying: “Yet.”

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  • Ethica says:

    09:32am | 17/10/11

    Me and this arcitle, sitting in a tree, L-E-A-R-N-I-N-G! Read more »

  • LC says:

    05:34pm | 13/03/11

    “70% of all police call outs are ALCOHOL REALTED!” I’d like to see your source for that. “Ban alcohol” Yeah, they tried that less than 100 years ago. Guess what? They got rid of the (legitimate) supply, but not the demand, and the demand was filled by criminals. A black… Read more »


My dad was a pack a day smoker of Marlboro Reds, he died of cancer in 1996. This is a picture of my three brothers and I carrying him into the funeral service in his coffin.

Welcome to Marlboro Country: Adam's Dad prepares to light up one last time.

If you look carefully you will notice the coffin is painted as a carton of cigarettes, Marlboro Reds to be exact (it was painted on my dad’s request by my talented sister Tania Ferrier).

Dad loved his smokes and didn’t appreciate anyone saying he couldn’t smoke. In fact, just before dad died he asked me to give his eulogy and remind everyone that he wanted to be cremated so he ‘could light up one last time’. He was a relatively conservative chap - but one with a wicked sense of humour, and I guess a fierce sense of brand loyalty.

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  • says:

    02:56pm | 02/03/12

    Well well!! I wonder what would happen if you had an accident in a street and had to be given CPR until the ambulance came!! and yes it could be a smoker that saves your life!!! There are many nurses and carers in this world that are smokers-Take them out… Read more »

  • Tanya says:

    04:31pm | 23/12/11

    Some awesome thoughts to consider and that I haven’t thought of. I’m just a four day quitter today and it’s tougher than hell. But I’m doing it because I don’t want my kid to have to watch me die too young and not have me because I made a stupid… Read more »


Much has been said and written about the wisdom of Kevin Rudd’s glistening mega-slug on the apparent evil that is tobacco.

At least this chimp has the decency to buy its own. Photo: Reuters.

As a parent, it does seem sad that a future generation of child smokers will now be priced out of the market. And while the jury might still be out on the links between smoking and illness, the Government has clearly thrown its lot in with the “it certainly appears to be quite dangerous” crowd.

I have no background in medicine so I will leave this part of the debate to others. But I do know this – I just paid $17.50 for a packet of Marlboro Reds, and no, you can’t have one of them.

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  • Here for a good time not a long time says:

    07:42am | 07/05/10

    Yes thats right!  They do..  And all the while they smoke, they save you and the rest of the country from having to pay billions in extra taxes.  Soon as there are no more smokers left, the government will want this money from some other source.  And believe you me,… Read more »

  • Heléna says:

    08:31pm | 05/05/10

    apparently they vote too :p @DavidO Read more »


I’m not quite sure if or when I became cool, but if I did, I know for certain smoking had nothing to do with it.

Optimus Dork and Megafringe say Don't Smoke Kids.

When I was a kid one of my best mates was my next-door neighbour Brett. Brett was a smoker. Brett was always going to be a smoker. His mum smoked, his dad smoked, his older brother smoked – if Brett didn’t smoke he would have almost been betraying the family name. Brett was an honour smoker, and a good mate. Although he did once try to beat me up.

Each morning Brett and I would head off early and walk to school “the back way”, so I could enjoy a pleasant dawn service of standing around like an idiot watching Brett and a bunch of kids smoke their lungs out. I think I did this every day of my entire high-schooling career, and for some reason I never smoked. Ever. But even though I thought it was disgusting, I always knew smoking was undeniably cool.

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  • Alice Anne says:

    07:50pm | 24/05/11

    Smokers look, and have always looked, like poor, bogan trash.  It doesn’t matter who it is smoking, it has all the appeal of watching someone eat a turd sandwich.  It immediately transforms an attractive person into an ugly person.  No amount of deodorant, breath mints or anything else can take… Read more »

  • Anthony says:

    09:11pm | 13/05/10

    People know that smoking is bad for their health, and this has been public knowledge for literally decades. And yet people still continue to do it, and it is seen as cool to willingly destroy your health.  What is wrong with the world? Read more »


Federal government tax on cigarettes goes up by 25 per cent from midnight tonight. Here’s a quick calculation on what it means for me. I usually smoke eight 20-packs of the revolting, filthy things each week.

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  • Jafknind says:

    06:37am | 22/10/12

    look at karen millen uk  and get big save rnvMFLfd [url=] [/URL] Read more »

  • Veruca says:

    02:48pm | 14/06/11

    Hey, good to find sooemne who agrees with me. GMTA. Read more »


The tax tables that tell you whether you’re better or worse off under the federal budget may need a new category this year. Alongside the “Couple, 60/40 income split, 2 kids” we’ll need “Couple, 60/40 income split, 2 kids, family smokes a total of 30 a day” because reports today suggest the government may mount an unprecedented tax assault on smokers to fund health reform.

Source: ABS

As in most other countries the prevalence of smoking in Australia goes down as you go up the income scale. There’s no getting around this: a tax hike on smokers targets the most disadvantaged sections of society.

To which many non-smokers from all walks of life will respond: So what? It’s an offensive habit that causes revolting diseases which non-smoking taxpayers must pay to treat because chuffers don’t have the will power to quit.

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  • Longchamp says:

    09:42am | 11/10/12

    Economisez 50% sur le beats by dre sur notre boutique, nous vendre beats by dre pas cher et de haute qualité, beats by dre soldes en ligne ! Read more »

  • M.A.Mbrearty says:

    01:04pm | 21/05/10

    The current health minister appears to of somehow managed to catch a high profile position in politics. The individual appears to be quite dominant in the views that are apparently a depiction of indivisuals and the benefits of health reform. Perhaps the question should be who actually gave the portfolio… Read more »


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