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Logos Banned on Australian Cigarette Packages, Graphic Images Will Star

Logos Banned on Australian Cigarette Packages, Graphic Images Will Star

It looks like cigarettes are getting a brand new makeover in Australia where the highest court in the country maintained that cigarette companies can no longer display their unique logos on packaging. This means that no distinctive logo, colors or images can be used on any brand of cigarette anywhere in Australia.

Instead, starting in December, all cigarettes, from every company, will be packaged in uniform olive-colored boxes that sport graphic images of the dangers of tobacco use, such as rotted teeth and ailing children, NBC News reports. The images will also include warnings, such as “Smoking causes blindness.”

The decision was handed down Wednesday despite protests from executives of the tobacco industry who argued that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent that infringes on intellectual property rights and could cut billions of dollars from tobacco companies. Many critics also claimed that applying warnings and uniform packaging inherently favors the government’s interests, according to the BBC.

One extreme opponent of the measure even claimed that organized crime will benefit from the new measure. Scott McIntyre of British American Tobacco Australia argued that the uniform packaging will make it easier for counterfeiters to sell products on the street.

Proponents of the new measure, which was officially approved on Wednesday, argue that the decision does not contradict the Australian constitution. Authorities also argue that the packaging will reduce the number of smokers in a bid to encourage a healthier lifestyle for Australian citizens.

The move by the Australian court does set an exacting new precedent that favors the opinions of medical experts the world over for the last few decades. The caustic and debilitating effects of tobacco products on the human body have been readily established, causing one in five deaths in the United States alone. The Australian high court has obviously taken the medical community’s stance on the issue.

Global powers have been keeping an eye on the Australian legislation this entire year, awaiting Wednesday’s decision. Researchers in the United States have concluded that packaging can influence a teenager’s perception of smoking and encourage the act. As a result, the FDA in the U.S. will also mandate that graphic imagery be included on all cigarette packaging starting in September of this year. Many world powers will be keeping an eye on both Australia and the United States to see what effect the new packaging will have on smoking habits. The Guardian notes that Norway, New Zealand, Canada, India and Britain are all considering similar measures in the coming years.

While some drab packaging might not completely dissuade possible smokers from starting the habit, and may not be effective enough at stopping current smokers from indulging, the new mandates illustrate a concerted push towards highlighting the devastating effects of smoking. The decisions also strip companies of their ability to tell a story through advertising that erroneously demotes the extremely dangerous side effects of smoking.

Related Stories:

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Boring Cigarette Packaging: Enough to Stop Teenagers from Smoking?

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Photo Credit: CDC PHIL

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33 comments

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12:17AM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

In all honesty, I doubt the packaging will really affect sales.

10:09PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

The price alone ought to discourage people from smoking, it's unbelievably high. I'm so glad I quit 17 years ago, I could not afford it nowadays, even if I wanted to smoke again, which I don't.

10:05PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

I switched to clove cigarettes, then our state banned them because teenagers were buying them. Do they really think teeneagers will pay attention to any graphics? probably not.

8:34AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

"I have been working in the nursing profession for 36 yrs now, and in my life time of working have seen more damage caused directly or indirectly by alcohol, by that I mean drunken driving, assaults, shootings,stabbings and yes even rape victims."

I second Patsi H.
I live in London and every Friday and Saturday night (but not exclusively those nights) we hear police cars and ambulances rushing to the aid of victims of alcohol. What's more, these victims are, more often than not, the innocent bystanders who HAVEN'T been drinking themselves.

I WAS a smoker (for 40 years, on and off) and am still a moderate drinker. Was and am well aware of the dangers of smoking. Also well aware of the dangers of over-drinking. But I have control of the first - no control over what other drinkers might do to me.

I can also say I know the cancer risks of smoking. But having had a parent and a grandparent die at an early age (not from smoking) I still smoked. Why? Because smoking isn't the primary cause of cancer - fear and hatred are.
That's why I've outlived both my antecedents by 20-25 years and why my younger brother, who has never smoked or spent time around anyone who has, had a grapefruit-sized tumor removed from his stomach last year.

12:44AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

We have had the warning labels and pictures of gangrene and cancerous tumors on cigarette packs for a while now.
Vendors also have to have cig packs locked away out of sight and supermarkets only sell them from one counter.
This is just another step towards trying to stamp out smoking altogther.
A close friend of mine died recently from cancer caused by smoking so I will be happy to see the cancer sticks disappear permantly.

9:22PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Alcohol is what gives us our culture here so i doubt the governments would dare on that issue. There would be protests across the country if they banned them. Maybe in the future but not now. One of the politicians said that its not in her life time to ban smoking, its up to the next generation.

5:31PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

In Australia we have had graphic pictures and warnings on all tobacco products for years. Also had the same graphic pictures and warnings in various campaigns and press releases. All tobacco products are hidden out of sight as well. So I don't think plain packaging will make much difference. Maybe they could try this new approach: on each packet put a break up of how much taxes goes towards the State and Federal coffers. Then the smokers can work out if the rest of the population is really worth that extra money they contribute.

4:20PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

So how can I make sure I do NOT get menthol cigs? I wanted Camel Blues dammit!

3:17PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Yet alcohol is still advertised on TV during sporting programs. Double standard much Julia?

2:27PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm glad I don't smoke.

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