Australia launches world-first plain cigarette pack laws

July 6, 2011

Australia introduced world-first plain packaging laws for cigarettes into parliament Wednesday, vowing not to bow to big tobacco's "intimidation tactics" and legal threats.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the laws, which will have to be debated by MPs before being passed, would see Australia become the first country to go down this path.

"Introducing this legislation today I think shows that the big tobacco's intimidation tactics have not worked. Our government won't be deterred from taking this action," Roxon told reporters.

"And we believe that we are on very strong ground -- although this is a world first, taking this action -- and are determined to proceed with it."

Canberra faces a bruising intellectual property row with global tobacco giants over the plan to remove all logos from and mandate they be drab colours with graphic in a bid to limit smoking.

The Asian arm of launched legal action against the plan last month seeking "significant" compensation, and British American Tobacco has warned it stands ready to follow suit.

But Roxon said Australia would press ahead with a plan being closely watched by countries mulling similar moves, saying she was determined to almost halve the proportion of who smoke to 10 percent by 2018.

About 19 percent of citizens are thought to be , killing around 15,000 people and costing the economy more than Aus$30 billion (US$32 billion) every year in health and other expenses.

"We're taking this action because tobacco is not like any other legal product. When used as intended it is lethal," said Roxon.

"We will reduce the number of people that take up smoking to start with (and) we will take away any of the remaining glamour that might be attached to smoking."

Although Australia would be the first country to mandate plain packaging, New Zealand, Canada and Britain have considered a similar approach and are watching developments.

Explore further: Australia plans world-first plain cigarette packets

Related Stories

Australia proposes tough cigarette packaging rules

April 7, 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 ...

Australia rules out total smoking ban

May 22, 2011

Australia plans the world's toughest laws on tobacco promotion but Health Minister Nicola Roxon denied Sunday the government's ultimate goal was a complete ban on smoking.

Philip Morris fights Australian packaging rules

June 27, 2011

(AP) -- Tobacco giant Philip Morris launched legal action on Monday against the Australian government over the country's plans to strip company logos from cigarette packages and replace them with grisly images of cancerous ...

Australia cigarette plan facing new legal threat

July 2, 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.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 06, 2011
Let us hope Australia follows this up and considers like Iceland making cigarettes prescription-only. Consumer goods should be evaluated upon a level playing safety and health risk field.

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.