Plain to See: Smoking Kills
The courts down under have passed a watershed judgment. All Cigarette packaging will in future will be housed in plain olive green packaging, with a massive health warning and generic copy for the brand name.
Australia’s highest court on Wednesday ruled against the biggest four tobacco companies in OZ and upheld a government law restricting the marketing of cigarettes. The tobacco companies sued on grounds that their intellectual properties were being infringed upon but the courts rules that it was legal.
“Australia’s actions are being closely watched by governments around the world,” she said on Wednesday. The message to the rest of the world is big tobacco can be taken on and beaten. Without brave governments willing to take the fight up to big tobacco they’d still have us believing that tobacco is neither harmful nor addictive.”
Apparently this is true. Governments around the world are looking to the Australian example of how to implement ever stricter regulations against tobacco companies.
“Australia’s actions are being closely watched by governments around the world, including by Norway, Uruguay, UK, EU, NZ, France, South Africa and China,” said Roxon
In future, should this be implemented throughout the world, no distinction would be able to be made between Brand X and Brand Y, though the consequences will be plain to see. The tobacco companies deem this unfair.
“We’ve always said the Government had forced us down the legal path as we really didn’t want to take action,” BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre said.
“The Government couldn’t see the serious consequences plain packaging would bring and now the problems will begin. The illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy.”
He said the black market trade on smuggled cigarettes tripled last year and plain packaging would put pressure on the industry to reduce legal tobacco prices.
“Crime groups are pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars while avoiding tobacco excise to the tune of $1 billon,” he said.
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