Man smoking 370.
(photo credit: Ina Fassbender/Reuters)
Australia has become the world’s leading country to fight smoking, with the
landmark decision from the country’s high court.
The court dismissed a
legal challenge from the tobacco industry over its requirement that all products
be sold in plain olive green packaging without any branding, by
Israel is way behind – with no limitation on packaging except
for textual health warnings – and especially in the enforcement of its existing
World Health Organization director-general Dr. Margaret Chan
issued a statement Wednesday strongly welcoming the Australian court’s decision
and calling on the rest of the world to follow.
Several major tobacco
companies challenged Australia’s legislation. But the industry’s attempt to
derail this effective tobacco control measure failed.
Plain packaging is
a highly effective way to counter industry’s ruthless marketing tactics, Chan
It is also fully in line with the WHO Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control which was ratified by 170 countries including Israel – but not
the US, due to its strong tobacco lobby, and went into effect in 2005. “The
Australian lawsuits filed by Big Tobacco look like the death throes of a
With so many countries lined up to ride on
Australia’s coattails, what we hope to see is a domino effect for the good of
public health,” the WHO director- general said..
“The evidence on the
positive health impact of plain packaging ... will benefit other countries in
their efforts to develop and implement strong tobacco control measures to
protect the health of their people and to stand resolute against the advances of
the tobacco industry,” Chan continued.
If governments do not take strong
action to limit exposures to tobacco, by 2030 it could kill more than 8 million
people each year.
Signatories of the framework agreement are obliged over
time to take a number of steps to reduce demand and supply for tobacco products
including protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke; counteracting
illicit trade; banning advertising; promotion and sponsorship; banning sales to
minors; putting large health warnings on packages of tobacco; increasing tobacco
taxes and creating a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control.