Australia cigarette pack branding ban moves closer

Australia's parliament has passed two bills moving the nation closer to becoming the first to introduce plain cigarette packaging in a move Health Minister Nicola Roxon Thursday called "courageous".

The bills, aimed at banning tobacco company product branding, passed the lower house unopposed and will now go to the upper house, where it is not expected to meet much resistance.

Under the proposed legislation aimed at reducing smoking rates, due to take effect next year, all logos will be removed from cigarette packaging in Australia, with company brand names printed in a uniform font.

Packets would also be a bland olive-green and contain graphic such as black, diseased gums, blinded eyes and children in hospital.

"This is the first very courageous step that our parliament has taken to introduce plain packaging," said Roxon.

"We're going to be the first country around the world to introduce it and January 1 is the start date and it looks like the legislation will be well and truly passed by then."

The plans, which are being closely watched by other countries considering similar policies, have enraged the tobacco giants, who say there is no evidence plain packaging will reduce smoking rates.

They are also concerned it would reduce their profits and see flood the market.

But Roxon said they would have to live with it.

"There isn't any safe amount of tobacco that you can smoke. It will kill you eventually and we obviously want to make sure that that message is heard loud and clear," she said.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton urged to get behind the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 and the Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill 2011.

"This legislation will save lives," he said

"And we have to send a message to Big Tobacco that people's lives are more important than their profits."

Canberra says 15,000 die of smoking-related diseases every year, and that use costs the country Aus$31.5 billion (US$33 billion) annually in healthcare and lost productivity.

Though Australia would be the first country in the world to mandate plain packaging, New Zealand, Canada and Britain have considered a similar approach.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia cigarette plan facing new legal threat

Jul 02, 2011

A second global tobacco giant has flagged legal action over Australia's plain packaging plan for cigarettes, warning of violations of its intellectual property rights, a report said Saturday.

Australia proposes tough cigarette packaging rules

Apr 07, 2011

(AP) -- Tobacco companies in Australia will be forced to strip all logos from their cigarette packages and replace them with graphic images such as cancer-riddled mouths and sickly children under legislation unveiled Thursday ...

Recommended for you

High-calorie and low-nutrient foods in kids' TV

15 hours ago

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in ...

Chemical companies shore up supplement science

15 hours ago

As evidence mounts showing the potential health benefits of probiotics, antioxidants and other nutritional compounds, more and more people are taking supplements. And the chemical industry is getting in on the action. But ...

More Americans in their golden years are going hungry

15 hours ago

In a country as wealthy as the United States, it may come as a surprise that one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources. They are food insecure.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
Why are they not legislating for tobacco equality--treating the tobacco industry on the same health and safety terms required for the products of every other business.