Plain Packaging on Cigarettes ? Is It Necessary

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Tobacco laws have started as early as the 1970s (ACOSH, 2010). Government has implanted laws, such that of the Tobacco Act (1987), which goals are to discourage the smoking of tobacco, encouraging non-smokers; in particular young people to not start smoking, to limit the exposure of children and young people to the persuasion of smoking, to encourage and assists smokers to give up smoking, and finally the promotion of good well being and illness prevention. The tobacco act of 1897, had over the years since, been reformed, and it seems like there is no stopping now. To further reinforce its initial goal, recently the Australian government reformed this Tobacco Act. The Australian government had announced, the 25% increase in tobacco tax, plain packaging on tobacco products to be implemented in the near future of 2012, ban on tobacco advertisement on the internet, as well as major increase in funding for tobacco media campaigns (ACOSH, 2010). The implementation of plain packaging on tobacco products of the announcement fueled a major debate with very opposing views. Those against tobacco plain packaging bring up issues of illicit trading, trademark rights, and lack of evidence; that plain packaging would in fact reduce cigarette consumptions (PMI, 2010). On the contrary, anti-smoking groups and health advocates, such as World Health Organizations (WHO), Cancer Council Australia (CCA, 2010) fully supports the new reformation to the Tobacco Act. They argue that plain packing would make cigarettes less appealing, and eliminates any last straw of advertisements, which the tobacco companies have put in placed, to begin with, to promote consumption of their tobacco products.

Firstly, Tobacco Companies argue that plain packaging implementation is an unintelligent move on the government. Tobacco companies propose that plain packaging would promote illicit trading. Philip Morris international (PMI), one of the leading international tobacco companies views are that they are opposing the legislation mandating plain packaging. PMI state that they support effective regulation of tobacco based on harm reduction (PMIMSA, 2010). However they feel that plain packaging is too extreme, and that the government has gone too far. PMI states that Plain packaging would be easier to be counterfeited, as the plain packaging are simple and are not designed uniquely. This illicit trading would cause a major loss in the government revenue, stating that the government would lose an estimated of $40.5 billions of dollars annually (PMIMSA, 2010). With illicit trading the Tobacco Company also believed that it will spark a new problem; that the counterfeited tobacco products would be more harmful to smokers. Tobacco Company believes that with the counterfeit tobacco products, consumers are not guaranteed that their products are safe, because of poor quality, since it has been found that counterfeited products of tobacco contains “rat droppings, fiber glass… and high levels of toxic chemicals.” (PMIMSA, 2010). Another large tobacco company, British American Tobacco Australia, along with the PMI, have tried to make aware that plain packaging would also cause harm to retailers of local business, stating that it would cause retailers great confusion and inconvenience (ARR, 2010). It would inconvenience retailers, because all packets would look the same, and thus taking them longer to make transactions with customers. Retailer is also made to believe that with more time spent on one transaction it would result security issues, as they would not be able to pay more attention to their shop (PMIMSA, 2010). As well as illicit trading and inconveniencing issues, Tobacco Companies do not approve the plain packaging because it violates trademark rights. With the removal of current packaging and the implementation of plain packaging, it breaches intellectual property rights (Casben, 2010). According to Canadian Health Minister David Dingwall,...
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