Court clears way for plain packaging
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 10:48a.m.
The Australian government has won a world-first court battle allowing it to force cigarettes and tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging.
The reasons behind the judgment won’t be released until later this year.
British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco Australia all challenged the policy in court, saying plain packaging was unconstitutional because it took away their intellectual property rights without compensation.
But the government insists it can regulate cigarettes in the same way it controls other products harmful to human health, such as rat poison.
Under the plain packaging laws, from December all cigarettes and tobacco products will have to be sold in brown packs carrying large graphic health warnings.
The manufacturers’ brand names will be written in a small, generic font.
Australia is also fighting complaints to the World Trade Organisation from tobacco manufacturing countries Ukraine, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, who claim the laws unfairly restrict trade.
Tobacco companies could also challenge the law under the Australia-Hong Kong investment agreement, or the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The New Zealand government will be watching the Australian decision closely, with Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia pushing for similar measures to be introduced here.
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19/08/2012 9:50:27 p.m.
The effects of tobacco consumption: breathing is in short supply and health collapses as a result. This happens independent of government regulations on plain packaging (NB: the topic of this article), and in no way does it presuppose 'harrassment of smokers'. Read the article.
Once again, what a cynical argument to legitimise cancer sticks so that our elderly citizens might die off early. This stance has little credence. If more people quit smoking, quality of life is improved for more people. With regard to smoking: "Winners quit, quitters win".
19/08/2012 9:51:40 a.m.
The harrassment of smokers does not make sense. If more people smoke, they are more likely to die younger thereby opening up jobs for young people.We now have a society where the nut jobs want to save the lives of everyone, take away all the supposed bad things so they live longer, and even ensure sick people can't end their lives. The result is, old people will have to work longer and retire far later. Young people can't get jobs because the old people don't die or retire young. Housing is in short supply and economies are collapsing as a result.
16/08/2012 9:08:45 p.m.
All the arguments here opposing this ruling have already been accounted for, and are weak in the face of the documented harm caused by tobacco.
If the Australian government were simply 'wasting their time', this proposed (and now High Court endorsed) legislation would not have the international interest it does.
But it does (including NZ), and is thus an effective measure to preserve choice and save time. An attorney-general and health minister would be expected to know more about legal issues in relation to health matters than opposing views expressed here.
16/08/2012 10:17:52 a.m.
Plain packaging will not make any difference. One would think that if a product can be legally sold then the manufacturer should have equal rights to place the name on the product. I guess this is the flagship for change, next will be Alcohol then what, maybe fast food outlets, hey what about pokies, they even have flashing lights and music to mesmerise you!
15/08/2012 6:08:10 p.m.
i am so happy that nz is trying to stop smoking but the smokers do not care about the packaging they care about the smokes so i think that it wont make a difference in my view
15/08/2012 3:18:55 p.m.
yoshio usui wrote:
Democracy TaxThere are no Democracy costs for the Products of China.For all products from China, we should have China pay Democracy Tax to America, because price competition has to be fair.Democracy costs too much, and the costs of democracy such as the election and division of the three powers are added on all products from toothbrushes to cars. The cause of the recession and unemployment lies in the Communist China.
15/08/2012 1:43:23 p.m.
Seriously think instead of wasting time an money on smokers why dont the governments focus on the real problems like alcohol!! pretty sure that alcohol causes way more problems each year than smoking does!! people who smoke choice to harm themselves people that get hurt or killed by a drunk driver didnt choice for some idiot to drink drunk an harm them!!
15/08/2012 1:42:35 p.m.
The plain cupboards haven't stopped people buying them so the plain packaging won't either. Best you plain pack alcohol too and lock it in cupboards too because that is more of an issue than smoking in this country. At least smoking generally only effects the user, alcohol effects the whole family and it's imediate neighbours.
15/08/2012 1:37:47 p.m.
Welldone Australia. There should be strict laws to control smoking, especially among youth.
15/08/2012 1:11:31 p.m.
Its funny because this is a wasted battle.
They stay behind closed cabinets in all shops... so who can see them now anyway.
And the packaging became offensive when the Ministry of Health started to over exaggerate the effects of cigarette smoking with graphic pictures on the packets which everyone ignored (more wasted money).
So why push for plain packaging when the packaging cant be seen anymore anyway?.
Seems like a waste of effort... instead of pushing through beneficial laws Tarianna choses to stick with this issue.
Amazingly she reminds me of helen clark with her stance on tobacco.
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