CANBERRA - Tough anti-smoking laws banning brand labels passed their last major legislative hurdle in Australia on Thursday and immediately faced the threat of court action from tobacco companies worried the move could spread and hurt sales elsewhere.
The upper house of parliament agreed on new laws that from December next year will force cigarettes to be sold in plain olive packets, with no mention of the brand. They would continue to show graphic images of the harm smoking can cause.
"Big tobacco has been fuming since day one that this is a law that they don't want introduced. They want to keep selling their deadly products, and we want to reduce their market. So we are destined to disagree," Health Minister Nicola Roxon told reporters.