Plain-packet cigarettes move closer in Australia

Australia's world-first plan for plain cigarette packaging inched closer Thursday when the legislation passed through the upper house of parliament.

But it faces the threat of a legal challenge with British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) saying it will take action once the laws come into effect.

Under the proposed legislation aimed at reducing Australia's 15,000 annual smoking-related deaths, cigarettes will be sold in drab olive-brown packs with prominent such as diseased gums and hospitalised children.

Big argue it is unconstitutional for the government to remove their trademarks and other intellectual property without compensation.

"The result of BATA's could force Nicola Roxon to pay tobacco companies billions of dollars for the removal of trademarks, brands and pack space," the company said in a statement.

The new laws are due to come into effect in December 2012.

While they secured upper house approval after lengthy procedural delaying tactics by the conservative opposition, the legislation must now return to the lower house for a final rubber stamp to minor amendments.

Roxon said the passage of the laws was one of the most significant public health measures in Australia's history and the government would not be intimidated by big tobacco.

"Plain packaging means that the glamour is gone from smoking and cigarettes are now exposed for what they are, killer products that destroy thousands of Australian families," she said.

Roxon insisted the government was prepared for legal action.

"We won't be bullied by tobacco companies threatening litigation and we are prepared to fight them if they do take that step," she told reporters.

The plans are being closely watched by other countries considering similar policies, including New Zealand, Britain and Canada.

The tobacco giants claim there is no evidence that plain packaging will reduce smoking rates and complain that will flood the market, reducing their profits.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plain-packet cigarettes delayed in Australia

Nov 02, 2011

Australia's world-first plan for plain packaging on cigarettes has been delayed, giving tobacco firms extra time to prepare, the government said Wednesday, with the first sales now due in December 2012.

Australia cigarette pack branding ban moves closer

Aug 25, 2011

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".

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

Just a half hour of lost sleep linked weight gain

56 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Think twice the next time you don't get as much sleep as you need: A new study suggests that missing just 30 minutes of shuteye during weeknights could boost your weight and disrupt your metabolism.

Irregular sleeping pattern may affect how teens eat

1 hour ago

Day-to-day changes in how long your teen sleeps at night might be affecting how much they eat, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting.

How healthy is genetically modified soybean oil?

3 hours ago

Soybean oil accounts for more than 90 percent of all the seed oil production in the United States. Genetically modified (GM) soybean oil, made from seeds of GM soybean plants, was recently introduced into the food supply ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.