Australia bans cigarette branding

2012-12-01 09:56

Sydney - A law forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets came into effect in Australia on Saturday in an effort to strip any glamour from smoking and prevent young people from taking up the habit.

The new law, the first of its kind anywhere the world, came into force despite a vigorous legal challenge by big tobacco, which argued that the legislation infringed its intellectual property rights by banning trademarks.

All cigarettes will now have to be sold in identical, olive-brown packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings.

A cashier at a Sydney newsagent said many customers said they found the new packaging, which must feature graphic images such as a gangrenous foot, mouth cancer or a skeletal man dying of cancer, off-putting.

Sanjid Amatya said smokers were asking to pick and choose the images on their packets, with the photograph of gangrenous toes bothering many consumers, as well as one of a sick child affected by cigarette smoke.

"Some of them don't care what the picture is," Amatya said from the store in the suburb of Wynyard where he has worked for three years.

"But some say 'Why did they change the pictures? It's so awful'."

Another retailer Anas Hasan said the most preferred packs pictured a hand stubbing out a cigarette, while some smokers were buying cigarette cases so they did not have to look at the images.

"They hate it. I smoke and I hate it," he said of the new packaging as he opened the doors on the cigarette display case in his Coogee shop to reveal the new packs, which cannot be openly displayed.

"Poor Bryan, they call him," he said, referring to the photograph of the dying man, named on the pack as 34-year-old Bryan.
Anti-smoking campaigners have welcomed the new law, which stipulates that 75% of the front of packets must feature the graphic images.

Stafford Sanders from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Australia told AFP that research had suggested people would be put off by the packaging.

"It's likely to make people more aware of the health warnings," he said.

"And it will remove the potential for the packets to be used to mislead people. And it will de-glamorise the packet."
Sanders said some people had become quite upset and offended by the images.

"The images are supposed to be disturbing, to be confronting. They are supposed to have an effect," he said. "If the images stop one child from taking up smoking, hasn't it been worth you being offended by it?"

Smoker Louisa Brooks, 21, said she did not really notice the packets.

"I'm a stressed out university student," she said, after buying cigarettes which featured a picture of a sick baby in hospital with an oxygen tube going into its nose.

"I definitely am going to quit one day... I don't actually want to quit now," she said.

The percentage of smokers in Australia has dropped from about 50%  in the 1950s to 15% now and the government is aiming to push it down to 10% by 2018.

With 80% of smokers starting before the age of 18, and 99% before they turn 26, health authorities hope the new packaging will have the biggest impact on young people.

"If we can prevent young people from taking it up, that's a lifetime gift to them," Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said on Friday ahead of the law coming into effect.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease among Australians, killing an estimated 15 000 every year.

The government says it will not be heavy-handed in enforcing the legislation in cases where a few packets of old cigarettes are sold in error, but there is the possibility of fines of more than Aus$1m (about R9.2m) for a corporation that commits a large and deliberate breach of the law.

  • WuXingShou - 2012-12-01 10:05

    Awesome idea. Smoking such a terrible habbit!

      onssalsien.bloubul - 2012-12-01 11:25

      We pay 220 rands for a pack of 30's currently, and we still smoke LOL

      greg.quinn.353 - 2012-12-01 15:07

      If they don't want people to smoke in Oz why don't they just ban cigarettes?

      tert.lepa - 2012-12-01 18:04

      Stupid Australians. If you do it for one product you have to enforce this law for all products thats dangerous. Cars, coffee, butter, Alcahol,elevators ect ect. Real Stupid Australians.

  • mphotant.thelejane - 2012-12-01 10:12

    South African smokers whose mouth is brown with brown rotten teeth linings, should learn from this Australian experience.

  • byron.matthews.562 - 2012-12-01 10:18

    love it

  • albert.m.burger - 2012-12-01 10:21

    I am gonna start just because this Fascists tell everyone what to do!

      watchman.smith - 2012-12-01 11:03

      Enjoy chocking on your first drag!

      albert.m.burger - 2012-12-01 15:01

      Wilco hippy

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-12-01 19:58

      You do that albert.m.burger, we all behind you, you're our hero. :-)

  • heinrich.swart.3 - 2012-12-01 10:26

    Now the same must go for beer bottles and any alcoholic beverage. Why stop there, make the motor industry paint 75% of all new cars with images of air pollution and global warming. And images of people involved in accidents, with tubes from them. I see the good in the law, but making it only for tobacco is unfair. And applying it to everything dangerous is just unpractical.

  • Simon - 2012-12-01 10:29

    Once an addict, always an addict. They should rather have spent this time and effort on treatment centers or keep on the awareness campaigns. Educate the up coming generation for example. But i have to laugh at this police state...good old Auz.

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-12-01 19:34

      Well that makes perfect sense doesn't it Einstein. Why spend billions on 'treatment centres' for the next few decades, when you can spend NOTHING on solving the problem NOW? Dumass!. You go ahead and laugh at them stupid Aussies.

  • randall.j.coetzee - 2012-12-01 10:32

    ...strip any glamour from smoking and prevent young people from taking up the habit.... Yeah, no... That's not gonna work.

  • lance.allam - 2012-12-01 10:38

    The Nanny State is reaching perfection!

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-12-01 19:37

      And I'll bet you one of those A-Holes that complain that OUR state does nothing for our wellbeing?

  • watchman.smith - 2012-12-01 10:39

    Good move, a filthy habbit and a very adictive drug. Praise the Lord Jesus that He totally delivered me from an addiction that had a hold on my life from a young child of 8 yrs to the age of 35 yrs. That's right 27 yrs of my life. Then one day the Lord gave me a scare, I took a lung flow test at the company clinic and it spat out the information that my lungs could only hold the capacity of air of a 60 year old, the 2nd reading was worse. That was it straight away I put myself on nicotine patches, but they were so expensive, that I said to the Lord if I stay off cigarettes for a week, then I would know that I'm delivered. Well the Lord delivered me and I testified to the clinic doctor about it and I got a ¾ refund on the packet of nicotine patches. Praise the Lord Jesus!

      Bob - 2012-12-01 11:22

      So you traded an addiction for a delusion? Well done.

      watchman.smith - 2012-12-01 14:50

      @Bob. No I traded an addiction for reality and life, a delusion to you atheists who are the fools at heart.

      watchman.smith - 2012-12-01 14:54

      @ Mallory. Well that's why you suffered and took the long road and pain, which I didn't suffer. You see I gave it up to Jesus and he took the pain, not having any withdrawal whatsoever! So yeah you're right you get the credit, but as you said it was hell.

      albert.m.burger - 2012-12-01 15:01

      One addiction for another!

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-12-01 10:39

    Simple, buy a nice cigarette tin to put your smokes in. Problem solved.

      Jacques - 2012-12-01 10:48

      Love it! Haha! I recently started smoking, and I love it. Jeepers. I'm considerate toward others, I have a part time job while I study so I can afford it and it's my choice to do what I want. Great idea!

      Marianne.v.d.Walt - 2012-12-01 17:38

      Stunning idea!!! Had to stop, but stock is building up for my 84th birthday!!!!!!!

  • NickvanGraan - 2012-12-01 10:53

    This has become totally childish now. If the government feels that strongly about it, why don't they just ban smoking all together instead of all this nonsense. Warning signs were more than enough, if people still choose to smoke then that is their choice.

      tooka.loosh.5 - 2012-12-01 20:03

      I think the idea is more to try dicourage people from starting, rather than trying to encourage them to stop.

  • bruce.arnett.18 - 2012-12-01 10:54

    Brilliant. Should pass such legislation here against this disgusting habit instead of legislating for secrecy bill and e-toll implementation.

  • gcj.wood - 2012-12-01 11:11

    Move over UK, the Nanny State has just been supersized!!!!

  • veldt66 - 2012-12-01 11:32

    It's coming to S.A I can't wait

  • mark.schulz.796 - 2012-12-01 12:46

    Economics will scare people more. Raise the price 100%. Put the calculations of how much money goes on cigarettes per year. Put the cost of treatment for those ailments on the box instead of those disgusting pictures. Getting sick is a risk, people tell themselves, 'that kind of extreme case will never happen to me'. However, they cannot escape the crushing financial burden that smoking places on their budget! Every time they light up they are literally burning their money away.

  • amanda.fryer.90 - 2012-12-01 13:25

    It's amazing how smoking is made out to be the absolute worst thing anyone can do! Funny how I've never endangered or wiped out a whole family by smoking but a drunk is more than allowed to drink and drive or beat up his or her spouse and kids without the government interfering! Way to go! Great priorities! Maybe the government feels smoking doesn't kill fast enough .

  • - 2012-12-01 14:36

    Die armgatte smaak dit seker, want nou sal niemand kan sê of hulle Princeton of Camel rook nie.

  • barend.dippenaar - 2012-12-01 15:45

    Bravo, Australia! Once more a First World Country showing Africa and other Third World Countries how to combat an evil, unhealthy habit. Now, let's go one better. Let's forbid the sale of all tobacco products in shops, supermarkets and by vending machines. Let the products be taxed at 100% of the cost price and sales be allowed only by vendors in possession of very expensive permits valid only for six months. Let those who smoke, especially children, be discouraged in an effective way.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-12-01 16:40

      Children shouldn't be smoking in the first place.

  • matusowsky - 2012-12-01 21:56

    To those people saying that if they do this to ciggarettes they should do it to alcohol as well... When was the last time you got your own health endangered by someone drinking a bottle of beer right next to you? Now tell me when was the last time your own health was endangered when someone was smoking right next to you? There's a difference between the two. Ciggarrettes should be a banned substance and those addicted to them should turn to nicotine patches. At least the nicotine patches don't endanger the health of those around them.

  • Johannes Bothma - 2012-12-02 06:57

    Such hypocrates,there should b no pics @ all then, i dont smoke, but it is peoples choice if they want 2 or not

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