The Federal Government has come under fire for proposing world-first measures to curb smoking.

The government intends to ban advertisements on all cigarette packets in the next two years and has introduced a cigarette tax to come into effect at midnight tonight.

Jessica Uhlmann reports.

[flashvideo file=http://www.qutnews.com/uploads/tv-2010-1/20100429-cigarettes-changes.flv /]

TRANSCRIPT

Kevin Rudd has a plan to stamp out smoking and he’s not backing down.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “Cigarettes are not cool. Cigarettes kill people. Therefore, the government makes no apology whatsoever for what it is doing.”

The proposed laws will give cigarette packets a complete makeover by July one, 2012.

Health warnings will replace bright colours and logos.

Anne Jones, Anti-Smoking Campaigner: “If you de-glamourise it, if you remove the advertising, it will accelerate declines in smoking rates.”

Tobacco tax will go up by 25 per cent tonight – or around $2 on a packet of 30 cigarettes – which is also causing controversy.

Neil Mitchell, 3AW: “Look, I don’t advocate smoking but it is a legal product. It’s a legal vice and people are being victimised. They’re being treated like lepers and I feel sorry for them.”

Cigarette companies are expected to challenge the laws but the government is ready to fight.

Nicola Roxon, Health Minister: “It will be contested, and I have to tell you, we know the tobacco companies are already opposing this. We know it will have an effect on their marketing.”

The proposed packaging rules are the most stringent in the world.

Jessica Uhlmann, QUT News