Australia became the first country in the world, the parliament of which will consider a bill banning tobacco manufacturers to put colorful advertising, logo and brand name of companies on cigarette packs. Instead, the authorities propose to introduce a new sample packs with the image of organs affected by cancer and sick children. Tobacco companies have already announced their intention to file a charge against the government if the bill is adopted.
Today, Health Minister of Australia, Nicola Rokson, has introduced a new bill, on which Australia could become the first country in the world where tobacco products are sold in packs of a new sample in order to minimize the attractiveness of cigarettes for smokers. If this bill is approved, then the probability is high enough, then, firstly, all sold in Australia cigarette packs will be made in olive green. Studies have shown that this color, for some reason, is the most unpleasant to smokers. Secondly, all the warning labels about the dangers of smoking will be increased in size and will take up to 75% of the area in front of the pack (currently 30%) and up to 90% – on the back side. Thirdly, it will not be allowed to advertise tobacco companies and the company logo on the pack, and name of brands will be printed with standard small white letters, making them the least expressive. The only colorful element of a package will be vivid pictures of affected cancer, blind eyes, lips covered with sores and sick children. Presenting the bill, Minister of Health explained: “This bill on the new model of a package is the first in the world, and it makes it clear that the beauty on the package won’t be longer. Now packs will show only the death and disease caused by smoking.”
Now Australia has one of the toughest laws on tobacco advertising in the world. Thanks to this, country managed to reduce the percentage of smokers among people aged 14 years and older with 30.5% (in 1988) to 16.6% (in 2007). Australian Health Minister intends to ensure that by 2018 this figure does not exceed 10%. Nowadays 15 thousand Australians die annually from smoking and the state spends $ 32.9 billion for treatment of diseases caused by smoking.
All running tobacco companies in Australia, including Imperial Tobacco Australia, said that the law violates international laws on protection of trademark and intellectual property. British American Tobacco Australia (BATA), which manufactures cigarettes in Australia such as Winfield, Dunhill and Benson & Hedges, has already warned of the intention to litigate. “All can result in the fact that the government will squander millions of taxpayer dollars for the services of lawyers trying to defend its decision. And as well it will have to pay billions of dollars to the tobacco industry for infringement of our intellectual property “- said spokesman for BATA, Scott McIntyre, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Philip Morris also intends to resist the government’s actions “by all possible means. “
- World-First Law on Plain Cigarette Packaging Unveiled in Australia
- WTO challenge to plain packaging in the offing
- Imperial Tobacco becomes 2nd company to challenge packaging laws in Australia’s High Court