Break-through in tobacco control progress: on 15th of August 2012, the Australian highest court ruled in favor of the federal government law on plain packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Australia is the first country making plain packaging mandatory: the law, which is scheduled to be implemented from 1 December 2012, requires cigarettesand other tobacco products to be sold in olive green packets, with graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking. The tobacco control community and ECC welcome this major step forward to stop marketing and design influence smokers or smokers-to-be.
The European Union is considering such measure as part of the review of the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) which is due to take place in the automn 2012. We are calling for a legal obligations on the minimum size of packs of cigarettes and for mandatory pictorial warnings covering 80% of the front and the back of packages of tobacco products in combination with plain packaging
Other tobacco control measures supported and promoted by ECC and the tobacco control community include:
- pricing policies: taxes, minimum duties and minimum prices; and in particular a yearly 5% above inflation increase of taxes on all tobacco products;
- information and communication: limits on product displays (below the counter) of tobacco products; total ban of advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products;
- substance modifications: ban ingredients making tobacco products more appealing: flavours, sugar and other substances that make cigarettes more tasty and attractive especially to young smokers;
- measures impacting consumption: comprehensive smoking bans in closed public places, bars and restaurants and in the workplace without restrictions, and the active dissemination of information on the harmful effects of smoking in the presence of children and pregnant women;
- support to smoking cessation programmes and possible incentives for behavioural assistance and for following a proven effective treatment;
- product distribution: ban on sales to minors for tobacco products and ban of cigarette vending machines.
Some EU Member States and other countries of the world are considering implementing the plain packaging rule, despite strong oppostion and direct legal actions from the tobacco industry or via the World Trade Organisation.