A Big Win over Big Tobacco Wed 15 August 2012 Cassy O'Connor Acting Minister for Health The Acting Minister for Health, Cassy O'Connor, today welcomed the High Court's decision to allow plain packaging for cigarettes. Ms O'Connor said the Federal Government's world-leading laws would prove a valuable weapon in the fight against smoking. "Make no mistake, this is a major defeat for big tobacco that will have global repercussions," she said. "But most importantly, plain packaging for cigarettes has the potential to further drive down smoking rates here in Tasmania." Ms O'Connor said the new laws, which are due to come into effect this December, will add to the tough anti-smoking legislation the State Government recently developed. "The fight against smoking is a crucial one for this State. "Too many Tasmanians smoke. According to the National Health Survey 2007-08, we have the second highest smoking rate in the country and we must do all that we can to force that rate down. "Every year, tobacco causes the deaths of around 470 Tasmanians and the pain and suffering of thousands of smokers and their loved ones. "Beyond the health and emotional toll, smoking has been estimated to cost our economy $900 million a year in direct and indirect terms." Ms O'Connor said the State Government's most recent round of anti-tobacco legislation came into effect on March 1 this year, putting Tasmania at the forefront of the nation's fight against smoking. "We expanded smoke free areas to include outdoor dining areas, sporting venues, children's playgrounds, pedestrian and bus malls and at patrolled beaches," she said. "These reforms, together with plain packaging, will help us de-normalise smoking and ensure we do all we can to stop the next generation of Tasmanian children from taking up the habit."