CANBERRA, Australia - In December, all cigarette packs sold in Australia will no long carry tobacco company logos as that country€™s plan packaging law goes into effect. The Australia High Court upheld the strict regulation yesterday, the Associated Press reports.
Tobacco companies vehemently protested the new rules, which stripped all color, brand logos and design. Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco all challenged the law, protesting that the plain packaging devalued their trademarks and violated intellectual property rights.
Soon, cigarette packaging will only come in olive green with graphic images and health warnings. "Although the (law) passed the constitutional test, it's still a bad law that will only benefit organized crime groups which sell illegal tobacco on our streets," said BAT spokesman Scott McIntyre, in a statement. "The illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy."
The High Court will release its reasons for the decision later this year. Meanwhile, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and India, which had been watching Australia to see how the court ruled, will likely go forward with their own plain packaging laws, ABC News reports.
"Certainly the U.K. government has been having consultations around it, we know that New Zealand is, already the Indian government has," said Rob Moodie, professor of public health at the University of Melbourne. "It also is the first time in many ways that governments have really stood up to the intimidating tactics of the tobacco industry who, as we have seen, will threaten, cajole, do anything they can to prevent this sort of legislation from coming to the fore."