The Norwegian government looks set to impose standardized packaging on all tobacco products.
According to a press note issued by the Norway Government Administration Services (NGAS), the government plans to consult on its standardized-packaging proposal, which would apply to cigarettes and snus.
But a note issued by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) said that the ‘communication’ would aim at creating awareness among young people, policy makers, and interested organizations and groups as to why standardized packaging was an important and necessary measure to reduce the uptake of smoking and positively impact people’s health.
The note was issued after a press conference that included the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Bent Høie, and the secretary general of the Norwegian Cancer Society, Anne Lise Ryel.
In the NGAS press note, Høie was quoted as saying that it was known that young people were influenced by the appearance of tobacco packaging. ‘Packaging may be what makes them try tobacco for the first time, or what deters them from it,’ he said in the note. ‘No one wants young people to use tobacco, and it’s time to stop the marketing of tobacco products to young people.’
Høie went on to talk of the dangers of smoking and snus consumption. ‘Smoking remains one of our most significant public health challenges,’ he said. ‘Every year, about 6,600 people in Norway die from diseases caused by smoking. Snus (smokeless tobacco) is also harmful to health and can cause cancer, type 2 diabetes and increased mortality connected to a number of diseases. Snus use during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and stillbirth.
‘Smoking among young people has declined over the past decade, and five percent of 16-24 year olds smoke. We have however seen a sharp increase among young people who use snus in the last decade…
‘The large increase in snus use among youth started after the snus industry began developing products that appeal to young people, including snus boxes with new designs, new colors and flavorings such as vanilla, menthol and licorice. My goal is to prevent children and young people from using tobacco.’
The NGAS note said the Ministry of Health and Care Services would publish the consultation on the proposal at the end of February.
Under the proposal, all tobacco packaging would have to use a specific color (dark or dull green perhaps), brand and variant names would have to use a standardized color, font, size and location on the package, and manufacturer’s logos and other design elements would be banned.