SA to ban brand names on cigarette packs

South Africa will follow Australia's example by trying to ban the display of brand names on tobacco packets, according to a report on Thursday.

"... We will do it, definitely," Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was quoted as telling The Times newspaper. "Rest assured, I am extremely excited."

Tobacco companies not happy

On Wednesday, the High Court of Australia ruled that the measures did not breach the country's constitution. They stipulate that, from December 1, tobacco products be sold in drab, uniform packaging with graphic health warnings.

Four companies had challenged the law, claiming it infringed their intellectual property rights and was unconstitutional.

However, the court rejected the argument by British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris.

Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon said Britain, Canada and New Zealand were considering similar measures, and that China, South Africa and the European Union had followed the case with interest.

Motsoaledi has said previously that if the Australian government won the case, South Africa would follow suit.

(Sapa, August 2012)

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