Australian court orders drab cigarette packaging

Israel is way behind, with no limitation on packaging, and especially in the enforcement of its existing laws.

Man smoking 370 (photo credit: Ina Fassbender/Reuters)
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 December.
Israel is way behind – with no limitation on packaging except for textual health warnings – and especially in the enforcement of its existing laws.
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 said.
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 desperate industry.
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.