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Cigarettes to Get Plain Packets

A world-first law that will require plain packaging for cigarettes sold in Australia has passed the Senate.

The legislation will require cigarette companies to remove all logos from their packaging.

The action is hoped to make smoking less attractive for young people, in line with research conducted by the Australian Cancer Council.

“Every time a smoker takes a packet out of their pocket, it’s a mobile ad for a particular brand,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

From December 2012, all cigarette packaging will be required to be a plain olive-green colour, with gruesome graphics depicting the consequences of smoking and health warnings to cover the packets.

The images and warnings will cover 75 per cent of the front and 90 percent of the back of cigarette packs. Currently only 30% of packs sold in Australia display these.

Tobacco companies including British American Tobacco Australia, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris have said that they will challenge the laws in court.

The companies argue that the laws are unconstitutional.

“We’ve been pushed down this path. We’ve been saying all along we don’t want to take the Government to court, but Minister Roxon pushed us into this corner and unfortunately that’s what’s going to take place,” said Scott McIntyre of British American Tobacco.

The legislation must still pass through the House of Representatives later this month, however it is unlikely to fail at this level.

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