Ban on cigarette brand logos: Aussie ruling could go global

Plain packets policy more likely to be introduced in Britain after controversial Australian ruling

LAST UPDATED AT 12:32 ON Wed 15 Aug 2012

AUSTRALIA'S highest court has upheld a government law that requires brand colours and logos to be removed from all cigarette packaging. The decision has been welcomed by anti-smoking lobbyists and could persuade other countries to follow suit.

The ruling means that, from 1 December this year, cigarettes in Australia will be sold in olive green packets showing graphic images depicting the consequences of smoking, such as cancer-riddled mouths and blinded eyeballs.

The law was originally passed by the Australian government last year but leading tobacco manufacturers, including British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, challenged it. They claimed the law was unconstitutional and infringed on their intellectual property rights because Australia's constitution says the government can only acquire the property of others on "just terms".

Manufacturers also warned that the move would lead to a drastic cut in their profits and might result in fake products entering the market.

However, the High Court in Canberra has found that the new rules were legal and did not breach trademark rights – although it has withheld its reasons for the judgment until later this year.

The tough new packaging laws are the first of their kind to be implemented in the world and the case has been watched closely from around the globe as other countries, including the UK, Canada, India and New Zealand, consider a similar move in a bid to cut smoking.

The Daily Telegraph predicts an "olive revolution", noting that FTSE shares in British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco fell by 2.2 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively in London this morning.

A British American Tobacco spokesman told The Guardian that it was "disappointed" with the court’s decision but would comply with the law. 

Jonathan Liberman, director of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, told the BBC that the ruling was likely to give a boost to other countries looking to take similar steps. He said: "It shows to everybody that the only way to deal with the tobacco industry's claims, sabre-rattling and legal threats is to stare them down in court."

Politics.co.uk believes today's landmark ruling means Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is "significantly more likely" to seek to introduce plain cigarette packs in the UK.
 
Lansley has previously said the government wants tobacco companies to have "no business" in Britain. But he is struggling to gather support for the plain packet policy in Parliament. Last month, 50 MPs, including 34 Conservatives, wrote a letter to Lansley expressing their "serious concerns" for the proposal. They argued that there was no reliable evidence that it would have any public health benefits and that it would threaten thousands of jobs in the tobacco industry.
 
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a UK think-tank, described the proposal as a "draconian attack on the freedom of smokers, retailers and manufacturers".

Bookmakers William Hill are offering 5/1 on a similar law being introduced in Britain before the next general election. · 

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although it has withheld its reasons for the judgment until later this year.

They dont state why because their ruling breaches international trade TREATIES which are a higher court and law than the Aussie supreme court!The fact is this shows just how illegal the courts have become in their alliance with tobacco free advocacy. Plainly the courts are no longer impartial but more a JUDGE ROY BEAN hang em high sort of law! Dont expect the laws to be upheld in any court any longer! Big tobacco should immediatly shut down all operations within Australia and let the chinese bootleggers take over the void and the revenues the government would lose!

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS"
7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
November 2004.
"5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease."
In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.
The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

Australia is turning into a dictatorship.

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