Plain cigarette packs lead to factory closure

Sydney - Global tobacco giant Philip Morris announced on Wednesday it will cease manufacturing cigarettes in Australia.

The move comes after a steady decline in the number of smokers in Australia and a law banning the use of colourful product designs on cigarette packs.

The company blamed the government's plain-packaging laws for restricting export opportunities. The firm said plain packaging had not caused a decline in domestic sales, The Australian newspaper reported.

Around 180 factory workers will lose their jobs in Melbourne as the manufacturing operation moves to South Korea at the end of the year.

Official statistics show the proportion of Australians who smoke declined between 2001 and 2012 from 27% to 20% for men, and 21% to 16% for women.

Philip Morris is the second-largest cigarette maker in Australia.

The largest, British American Tobacco, plans to continue manufacturing in Australia.

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