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  • Research home > Beat Cancer Project search > Preventing cancer: Packaging and labelling of tobacco products, food and alcohol

    Preventing cancer: Packaging and labelling of tobacco products, food and alcohol

    Professor Caroline Miller
    • Donor Funding: $840,000
    • Cancer Type: All Cancers
    • Cancer Stage: Prevention
    • Funded in: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    • Professor Caroline Miller
      The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

    Preventing cancer: Packaging and labelling of tobacco products, food and alcohol

    Research summary

    At least one in three cancers are avoidable through changes in modifiable ‘lifestyle’ risk factors such as smoking, excess sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol consumption, inadequate exercise and being overweight or obese. Enormous capacity exists to reduce the burden of cancer in Australia, particularly through evidence-based policy interventions that effect change in these modifiable risk factors. 

    Our research advances population health research dedicated to translating research findings into key aspects of cancer prevention; tobacco control, food policy and alcohol policy. Our work will progress research in plain packaging of tobacco products, a population health policy initiative already attracting international prominence and support, with the potential to further reduce smoking among young people. 

    Our research program will extend our understanding of how graphic health warnings on tobacco products affect smokers, and explore the application of this knowledge to other products such as food and alcohol. Finally, our research will examine how labels are used to exert a positive influence on consumers’ behaviour, e.g., via health claims on food packaging.

    What we aim to achieve

    Our work aims to prevent cancers by targeting modifiable lifestyle factors. Our work applies behavioural science and experience from tobacco control, to develop evidence and policy responses for cancer prevention. As seen with tobacco control policies, public health policies have the potential to result in beneficial behaviour change across populations. Our research has the potential to create substantial benefits for smoking cessation, alcohol consumption and population weight, and prevention of obesity-, alcohol- and smoking-related cancers.

    Our next steps and milestones

    The findings of our research will be used to inform the development of health policies and future research aimed at preventing cancer and improving the health of Australians.

    What motivates me

    I am motivated to reduce the burden of preventable cancer. Many people could be spared the burden caused by cancer if we can create healthier environments and ensure people make informed decisions about their health.

    My message to supporters

    The funding from Cancer Council SA donors allows research that will inform health policy measures such as regulating marketing of unhealthy products to children, and the basis for future work which will assist the development of public education campaigns aimed at increasing the health of Australians and reducing the burden of preventable cancers.


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