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Branding banned - Australia gets tough on tobacco

Branding banned - Australia gets tough on tobacco
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The High Court in Australia has handed down a landmark ruling that forces tobacco companies to ditch branding on cigarette packets.

From December, all cigarettes in Australia must be sold in uniform olive-green packets carrying graphic health warnings.

Four giant tobacco companies had challenged the law in the High Court saying it was unconstitutional.

Australia’s government were delighted with the ruling. The health minister Tanya Plibersek said: “This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to tobacco-related illness. It’s for anyone who has lost someone to smoking. This one’s for you.”

The decision cannot be appealed. The tobacco companies said it will fuel a black market in cigarettes.

Non-smoker Carlos Barros in Sydney said: “It’s a good idea, but whether it’s going to work or not, I don’t think so. Because a smoker is going to smoke regardless of what the package says. It doesn’t have to have a brand because at the moment it’s being sold behind the counter anyway, so what difference does it make?”

The law reflects recommendations from the World Health Organisation and is being studied closely by several countries, including Britain, which are considering similar legislation.