Australia Bans Colorful Cigarette Boxes

June 7th, 2010 | Sources: NY Times


The Australian government has unveiled a new set of antismoking measures that includes removal of brand images and colors on cigarette packages.

According to the new rules—which have yet to be approved by Parliament—cigarette products would have to be marketed in packaging that is devoid of logos and includes promotional text that is presented in uniform color, font, positioning and point size.

squashedThe packaging—in the words of the Australian government—was “one of the last remaining frontiers for cigarette advertising.”

Cigarette boxes in Australia already feature explicit health warnings and photos that depict some of the consequences of smoking, like mouth cancer and gangrenous extremities.

Also included in the proposed rules is a 25% increase in the excise tax on cigarettes. The tax will bump the price of a box of 30 cigarettes by roughly 2.16 Australian dollars, to nearly 16.70 Australian dollars ($15.40).

The increased excise tax will itself cut cigarette smoking by 6%, according to government projections. Approximately 17% of Australians over age of 14 smoke cigarettes. 

The World Health Organization hailed the measures as “a new gold standard for the regulation of tobacco products.”

Tobacco companies questioned the effectiveness of the new measures and said they would encourage counterfeiting.

“There is no evidence to support the government’s notion that this will reduce consumption,” Imperial Tobacco said in a statement. “Plain packaging would seriously harm our brands and infringe the intellectual property rights in which both Imperial Tobacco and its shareholders have invested.”


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