The findings suggest there is no evidence for these particular arguments against the policy, put forward by the tobacco industry, say the researchers.
Australia was the first country in the world to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco products in December 2012. New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK are currently considering similar legislation.
The researchers wanted to find out if the policy would deter people from buying their tobacco from small independent retailers, prompt a rise in the availability of cheap products sourced from Asia, and increase the use of illicitly traded tobacco, as predicted by the tobacco industry.
They therefore quizzed adult smokers on the phone about their tobacco purchasing habits a year before the plain packaging policy was introduced in 2011; during roll-out in 2012; and one year after implementation.
All participants were already taking part in an annual representative population survey about smoking and health in the Australian state of Victoria, which yielded around 4000 interviews in total for each of the years.
The researchers wanted to know if there had been any changes in the proportions of people buying from supermarkets rather than small independent retailers, and whether smokers had switched to very cheap cigarettes sourced from Asia or illicit unbranded tobacco.
In all, responses were received from just under 2000 smokers. They showed no change in the places smokers usually bought their tobacco from between 2011 and 2013.
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