Public health law case study

Plain packaging of tobacco products

Authored by: Bryan Mercurio

Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health in Asia

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415643825
eBook ISBN: 9781315818719
Adobe ISBN: 9781317817703


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In April 2010, then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, announced Australia’s intention to require tobacco to be sold in ‘plain packaging’ [1]. Australia followed this announcement with the introduction of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 (Cth) and other legislation on 6 July 2011 which, among other things, prohibits the use of tobacco industry trademarks, logos, colours, brand imagery or promotional text on tobacco product packaging other than brand names and product names in a prescribed standard font style and position and in a ‘drab dark brown’ colour package. In addition, the graphic health warnings displayed on the front of the package have to be increased from 30 per cent to 75 per cent (graphic health warnings already must cover 90 per cent of the back of cigarette packages) [2, 3, 4, 5]. In short, Australia’s legislation (which entered into force on 1 December 2012) prohibits the use of company branding and logos, and generally standardizes the appearance of all tobacco packaging while also enlarging the mandatory health warnings appearing on tobacco packaging.

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