Plain-packet cigarettes move closer in Australia

November 10, 2011

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.

Explore further: Plain-packet cigarettes delayed in Australia

Related Stories

Plain-packet cigarettes delayed in Australia

November 2, 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

August 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".

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 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.