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  1. zodd. man.
    Australia passes plain-packaging cigarette law

    Tobacco companies vow to challenge legislation in the high court after senate approves ban on brand logos on packets

    is to become the first country to enforce the plain packaging of cigarettes but tobacco companies have vowed to fight the new legislation in court.
    From December next year, all cigarettes will be sold in olive green packs, which research has shown is least appealing to smokers.
    Under the new laws, approved by the upper house of parliament, no trademark brand logos will be permitted on any packaging of tobacco products, although companies will be able to print their name and the cigarette brand in small, prescribed font on the packets.
    The boxes will continue to carry stark health warning messages and pictures, which will cover 75% of the front of the pack and 90% of the back.
    "If this legislation stops one young Australian from picking up a shiny, coloured packet and prevents them becoming addicted to cigarettes then in my view it will have been worthwhile," said John Faulkner, a Labor senator, during the parliamentary debate.
    The debate in Australia has been keenly watched around the world, including in Britain, Canada and New Zealand where similar plans to curtail branding are being considered.
    Cigarette giant British American Tobacco, which owns 46% of the Australian market, plans to challenge the legislation in the high court on constitutional grounds.
    "The government can't take away valuable property from a legal company without compensation," said Scott McIntyre, spokesman for British American Tobacco Australia.
    McIntyre said the company's brands, including Winfield and Benson & Hedges, were worth billions of dollars.
    "We're a legal company with legal products selling to adults who know the risks of smoking. We're taking this to the high court because we believe the removal of our valuable intellectual property is unconstitutional," he said.
    Cigarette makers Philip Morris Australia said the legislation meant it had little option but to pursue its compensation claim "through international arbitration against Australia and to also consider domestic legal action under Australian law".
    The health minister, Nicola Roxon, said the government would not be bullied by the tobacco industry's threat of a legal challenge.
    "We're ready for that if they take legal action. We hope that they don't. We believe that this is a measure that's in the interests of the community and it would be better off for tobacco companies to look at ways they could invest in something that's not so harmful for the community," Roxon told reporters in Melbourne.
    Cigarette companies also say the plain-packaging legislation will increase the sale of illegal tobacco. "Once the packs all look the same they will be very easy to copy," said McIntyre.
    Fifteen thousand Australians die from smoking-related illnesses each year with the social cost of smoking to the Australian economy estimated to be more than A$30bn (£19bn) a year.
    Anti-smoking groups have welcomed the legislation. "We believe that it will reduce smoking in younger people and the fact that tobacco companies have been using packs very effectively as one of the last forms of advertising is one reason why they're so upset about it," said Professor Ian Olver, chief executive officer of the Australian Cancer Council.
    Fifteen per cent of adults in Australia smoke compared with 23% a decade ago. In Britain about 22% of the adult population smokes, according to Cancer Research UK.
    Australia already has some of the toughest smoking regulations in the world. Cigarettes must be sold behind closed doors in retail outlets and advertising and sponsorship deals are banned. It is illegal to smoke in any public places including bars, restaurants or entertainment venues. Some local councils have banned smoking in parks and outdoor areas.

    Alison Rourke in Sydney
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 10 November


  1. Luckysheaven7
    Great article and very interesting.

    I believe that the companies do have a right to keep their logos and brands as big as they want (so long as the warning lable is big enough).

    I find it ironic that they do this with cigarettes, but not with alcohol... soon they'll have to cover all brand names with surgeon general warnings about alcohol.

    Simply doesn't make very much sense... and most people don't start smoking through buying their first pack, but by bumming them from other people. It'd make more sense to force them to print the warning on each and every cigarette. (which, of course, is ridiculous haha).

    Being old enough to buy the cigarettes should mean you're old enough to understand the consequences of smoking them, just like driving, drinking, and gambling among others.

    Maybe instead of hindering and hurting the companies they can start more programs about the dangers of smoking and raise awareness. Commercials, bullitan boards, ads, newsletters, and all those shenanigans would be better.

    I too think it's unconstitutional that they are doing this.
  2. methylman251
    I am ashamed of my government... Yes thats right we are so stupid that the only thing enticing us to purchase smokes is the pretty labeling, thats it without the blue on my pack of winfield well I guess I'll have to stop smoking. Coming from people who have never smoked in their lives to think people will be any less likely to smoke because of a change in packaging is absurd. And I totally agree the vast majority of people who start smoking don't buy their first pack.
    I drink the beer I drink because that's what I like I couldn't care less if they made the label bright pink.

    "If this legislation stops one young Australian from picking up a shiny, coloured packet and prevents them becoming addicted to cigarettes then in my view it will have been worthwhile," said John Faulkner, a Labor senator, during the parliamentary debate.

    And is this guy serious? Why don't we legislate to take all unhealthy food off the markets because obesity is the leading cause of preventable death in Australia, lets ban all alcohol because that costs the country billions, hell why not take all the cars off the road because if banning motorized transport can save the life of one person then its all worth it...
    I am with member methylman251. already stated similiar opinion in another "related" article.
    The only thing that makes my think/say: "Take this, take that, Tobacco Industry, you deserve that slap to your face..." is that they lied to the public for so long...
    I do not remember the name of the documentary, but it contained excerpts from the 50`s, where you could see a "scientist" and spokesman for (from) the tobacco industry in a lab, standing beside some "puffing-machine", which by suction took 1 (one) !!! and apparently pretty weak puff per minute !!! from a cigarette and measured the values of inhaled smoke. The outcoming results were then published and surprise: smoking isn`t that bad for you after all!
  4. C.D.rose
    Personally, I approve of the decision made by Australian lawmakers. First of all, it's a good sign of a healthy democracy when Parliament is able to make a decision that goes against the interests of a very powerful alliance of private-sector companies. Second, if opponents of this policy are right, then we'll see cigarette use stay stable even after introduction of plain packages. Let's just see what happens and then judge the idea. I could imagine that it's going to be at least a partial success - but there is only one way to find out.

    "Hindering and hurting companies" is basically what a democracy is about, as opposed to a corporatocracy. We hinder companies when they mustn't sell cigarettes to minors, just as we hinder companies when we force them to adhere to safety standards for toys, hair dryers and even pocket lighters. I don't see why we should restrict policies to awareness programs and treatment when we can target the problem further upstream. Needless to say, this has to happen within reasonable limits. Telling tobacco companies to use olive-colored boxes falls within those limits, I think.
  5. chaos69
    I can't wait until people who smoke Winfield reds or even white ox get asked for a smoke by a stranger. usually they see the pack and say "actually don't worry". Now they won't realise until they're coughing the guts out. This could work for menthols too if it wasn't for the white butts.
  6. iceflame
    I'm from Australia, and I've been watching this unfold for over a year.

    From what I understand from reserching this, the cigarette companies may have to reduce the price on cigarettes now plain packaging is approved.
    Will research more on this and report back, but I'm damn sure the prices will drop, 'cos we pay high prices for the colorful packaging, hence plain packing will reduce prices.

    Bloody hope what I've heard is correct but I will get more info.
    The manufacturers are not happy, ofcourse, as they said "plain packaging will make our products cheaper for our consumers"

    Will report back later.
  7. Docta
    Sorry iceflame not so, tobacco is taxed as a levy against it's cost to public health so the price will only go up as the population ages.

    The U.N. considers tobacco a poison and so do the Australian government. Under Australian law poison(s) have no trademark protraction therefore the government can order repackaging as a public heath control order.

    The sooner the rest of the world starts following Australia's lead on pricing and packaging the better.

    This is what the new cigarettes will look like-

  8. iceflame
    @ docta....bugga bugga shit fuck poo.
    Oh well...back to the expensive smoking habit I have.

    Our packaging already looks like that...certainly doesn't deter me.
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