Australia cigarette plain packaging law upheld by court

 

Australia's new cigarette packaging rules have put big manufacturers against the government

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Australia's highest court has upheld a new government law on mandatory packaging for cigarettes that removes brand colours and logos from packaging.

The law requires cigarettes to be sold in olive green packets, with graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking.

Leading global tobacco manufacturers, including British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, had challenged the law.

The new packaging rules are scheduled to be implemented from 1 December 2012.

"At least a majority of the court is of the opinion that the Act is not contrary to (Australia's constitution)," the court said in a brief statement.

The full judgement is expected to be published on a later date.

'Still a bad law'

The law was passed by the government last year. Authorities have said that plain packaging of cigarettes will help reduce the number of smokers in the country.

An example of what cigarette packets in Australia may look like Australian cigarette packets may soon look like this

However, tobacco manufacturers have argued that removing their brand names and company colours from packets will lead to a drastic cut in profits.

They have also warned that it may result in fake products entering the market.

"It's still a bad law that will only benefit organised crime groups which sell illegal tobacco on our streets," said Scott McIntyre, spokesman for British American Tobacco (BAT) Australia.

Sonia Stewart, spokesperson for Imperial Tobacco, added that "the legislation will make the counterfeiters' job both cheaper and easier by mandating exactly how a pack must look".

Cigarette manufacturers have also claimed that the law is unconstitutional and infringes on their intellectual property rights by banning the use of brands and trademarks.

However, BAT's Mr McIntyre said the firms will comply with the new rules.

"Even though we believe the government has taken our property from us, we'll ensure our products comply with the plain packaging requirements and implementation dates."

'Deluge of legislation'

Australia's new tough packaging laws are the first of their kind to be implemented in the world.

However, many other countries such as New Zealand, India, the UK and even some states in the US have been contemplating taking similar measures in a bid to reduce the number of smokers.

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Whilst Australia might be a relatively small cigarette market, tobacco companies know that losing here could lead to a deluge of legislation elsewhere in their really big markets”

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As a result, the case between the government and the cigarette makers was being watched closely all across the globe.

Jonathan Liberman, director of the McCabe Center for Law and Cancer, said the ruling was likely to give a boost to other countries looking to take similar steps.

"It shows to everybody that the only way to deal with the tobacco industry's claims, sabre rattling and legal threats is to stare them down in court," he said.

The BBC's Sydney correspondent Duncan Kennedy said the decision may have global ramifications for the cigarette makers.

"Whilst Australia might be a relatively small cigarette market, tobacco companies know that losing here could lead to a deluge of legislation elsewhere in their really big markets."

"A smoker's going to smoke regardless of what the package says"

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 71.

    70. Shoeporn
    JUST NOW
    Smoking as a fashion statement and/or due to one's insecurity is very common I suspect. Particularly among stupid people so the fact is it will be beneficial to disadvanatged stupid folks
    +++
    Stupid people are those that have to be told what to do by others.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 70.

    Anything that makes smoking less attractive, physically or more generally, is undoubtedly a good policy. This restriction makes brands like Marlborough less marketable to vunerable/susceptible teens and adults. Smoking as a fashion statement and/or due to one's insecurity is very common I suspect. Particularly among stupid people so the fact is it will be beneficial to disadvanatged stupid folks

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 69.

    @ 61.Whim >> "over half of long term users die"
    That's not bad odds then 100% of users of anything else dies.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    61.Whim - There is no recommended use of cigarettes. Someone who smokes a couple a week has no increased risk of death, beyond that of say daily pollution.

    As for alcohol, actually it has devastating effects on nearly every individual. People don't start fights, rape women, crash their cars, abuse their families after having a smoke. Alcohol destroys lives.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 67.

    "Tobacco manufacturers have argued that removing their brand names and company colours from packets will lead to a drastic cut in profits."

    All they care about. It's important to them to hook the next generation of smokers. And it's only the young who are gullible enough to fall for the advertising.

    Raise the smoking age to 25 and see how many people take it up.

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 66.

    This is really interesting, if you live in Australia.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 65.

    Why do we subsidise growers of tobacco?....surely we should also tackle this part of the supply chain.

    If producers of tobacco products want this product let them pay a realsitic price to farmers..this would make cigarettes more expensive.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 64.

    "20 Silk Cut, please mate...
    No... not that one... that one there... no, next row.... down one... no, to the side... no, the other side.... thanks. Wait a minute... this is Marlborough... there.... look, man, right in front of you... THERE! NO! UP a row... to the right... RIGHT!... what's that one? Oh, that's B&H... Try that one.... no, that one.... down... over to the left... What? Sold out?"

  • rate this
    +44

    Comment number 63.

    I don't understand why the whole world falls over itself to hit the tobacco pushers so hard. Diabetes is 'the new lung cancer,' and the fast food boys are allowed to set up in the Olympic park to kill the next generation!

    It's hard to take all the courts and Politicians seriously when they give such mixed messages. It seems to be just another 'look I'm doing something for you' bandwagon.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 62.

    The only real danger I foresee is it making it easier for the counterfeiters. But the answer there is don't buy it from a dodgy source.To the 19 year old idiot earlier who said he plans to quit before lasting damage is done, I say 'Too late mate it's done'. Hit the Government hard & everyone quit smoking & they'll soon be wondering where their money went!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    The tobacco industry is the only industry where if you use their products as recommended, over half of long term users die. No, it is NOT the same as junk food, alcohol, etc. Do your research.

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 60.

    The tobacco industry sells a product that has absolutely no socially redeeming value and inflicts huge costs on every society because of the negative health impacts of the product. It's really unfortunate that we didn't know what we know today when there was an opportunity to make tobacco illegal. Frankly, I consider marijuana to be much less harmful.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 59.

    I think its a great idea but only if I can have all cars and lorries painted with BIG health warnings on their sides, cola and fast foods wrapped in a health warning with pictures, oh, and we must have sugar with health warnings too, all booze to have an olive lable with health warnings and pictures of the damage caused by drunks. Get the picture ? Only Governments could think of such a daft idea.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 58.

    It certainly won't stop teenagers from buying cigarettes. I'm 19 and a student and have been smoking for a few years. Brands are not the reason why people smoke, it's the cigarettes themselves so if the content are the same why would it change anything at all? I obviously know about the health risks so I do plan to quit before it does permanent damage but removing logos will not speed it up.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 57.

    @50 - Governments rake in an incredible amount of money in tobacco taxes and donations from the tobacco companies for party election campaigns. That's why they won't ban it. The lowest common denominator always seems to be money...

    Remember also, the tobacco companies are more concerned about loss of profits that the plain packaging may cause.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 56.

    This is great news and really put the evil tobacco industry on the back foot. Hope the green packaging goes global.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 55.

    @Romanceeditor (46) "What works is education, not prohibition."

    This isn't prohibition, or education. It's marketing. And marketing works even better than education, and Big Tobacco knows it. Which is why they're running scared.

    It won't be a dramatic effect, nor sudden. But it should mean a reduction in the percentage of people choosing to smoke that first cigarette.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 54.

    #30 To those that kindly pout out that alcohol is as bad or worse than smoking. Correct, good idea, lets do tobacco first then alcohol.


    Think the alchol idea was tried in the USA it was called 'Prohibition'. Al Capone benefitted greatly from this law.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    It's up to them what they do, and it doesn't mean that it would work or should be done in the UK. It certainly sets a precedent for harmful products. I expect to see pictures of battered wives on cans of larger, images of children's brains splattered over 4X4 radiator grills, and amputees depicted on bags of sugar some time in the near future.

    /sarcasm

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 52.

    I can see a very lucrative market erupting in attractive sleeves to put your ugly pack into...

    While I fully support the need to reduce, or at best eliminate, the smoking related issues, I don't think that this law will make a jot of difference.

    I'd happily be proven wrong in the long term.

 

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