Australia fumes over smoking kangaroos

2012-01-13 18:03

Sydney - The Australian government on Friday hit out at British American Tobacco for using images of kangaroos to sell its cigarettes in Europe, telling the company to "get your hands off our icons".

BAT, which is battling Canberra over moves towards plain packaging in Australia, is selling its Winfield brand overseas with a picture of a kangaroo on the front and a map of Australia on the back.

It is also using the slogan "An Australian Favourite" and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, the former health minister, is not amused.

"I think many Australians are going to be outraged that a big tobacco company all the way round the world is using Australia's healthy lifestyle to market their deadly products," she told reporters.

"What I think it's really showing is the sneaky levels that tobacco companies will go to encourage people to buy their products."

Australia is set to be the first country to mandate plain packaging to reduce smoking rates under a groundbreaking law passed in November.

Under the legislation, all tobacco products sold in Australia must be in in drab, olive-brown packets with large, graphic health warnings showing diseased body parts and sick babies from December 1 this year.

Brand imagery will also be banned, sparking a furious response from the major tobacco companies who have launched a constitutional challenge to the High Court, claiming it infringes their intellectual property rights.

Despite her dismay at Australian images being used to sell cigarettes in Europe, Roxon admitted there was little she could do about it.

"Whilst it's probably unlikely that we can do anything to stop these packs being sold in Europe, we certainly can call on British American Tobacco, as the Australian public can, to say 'get your hands off our icons'," she said.

"Don't use them to sell your product which actually has nothing to do with Australia.

"They are trying to imply to the European market that this is something that Australia promotes, that this is something that Australians prefer, that this somehow is connected with our healthy lifestyle."

  • Shirley - 2012-01-13 18:27

    The tobacco companies would put a photo of a newborn baby holding a ciggy if they knew it would boost sales and get away with it! These companies have NO consience and multi million dollar attorneys!

      John - 2012-01-13 22:09

      And Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, the former health minister, HAS NO PROBLEM KILLING BABIES BY ABORTION. Nicola Roxon, BABY KILLER.

      John - 2012-01-13 22:14

      Shirley, Have ever tried smoked kangaroo? Like smoked salmon? I know they sell kangaroo meat, I wonder if they also make biltong from it?

  • Ian - 2012-01-13 19:22

    If they banned smoking it would be easy for smokers to quit. Ive quit now but the only way I could do it was to go to a remote area with no shops around. Im telling you, it was as easy as pie "outta site outta mind". As soon as I got back to the city I struggled, thankfully Ive managed to struggle through it and stay a non smoker. They need to ban smoking and the sale of the stuff.

      Shirley - 2012-01-13 19:51

      Good to hear!!

      Johncarlos Cynical Biza - 2012-01-13 21:02

      Same here. I visited small-town relatives intolerant of smoking and that has kept me clean for a good 3 weeks. It doesn't help watching movies full of smokers idolizing the habit. I am heading back to the city(Cape Town) and being surrounded by smokers will be a challenge.

  • Mykola - 2012-01-13 21:34

    If nicotine delivery companies insist to defile a country's icons, there are a lot of things the country can do over and above taxation and forbidding advertising. Expensive drab packaging is a good idea. Other ideas could be: -- no TV scene showing a cigarette, pipe or cigar can be aired before, say, midnight -- all movies showing a cigarette, pipe or cigar will be rated "R" or "X". -- health inspectors slowly inspect every delivery of the nicotine delivery products for dangerous levels of carcinogens if lit; and they will find them every time. -- require an operating licence of several $billions/year, all of which would go towards addiction research. This deadly product is still slightly legal in 2012 only because it is so addictive. Any other consumer product that would cause one one-thousandth the risk or damage to a nation's health or economy would have no chance of being on the shelf unless it was addictive.

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