Australia says no plan for total smoking ban

Plain Cig Pack

On August 12 Australia said that it does not intend to ban tobacco after a major court ruling permitting tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging, representing the health fight against tobacco as “one step at a time.”

As worldwide tobacco companies had no more a constitutional challenge against the world-first plan, tobacco products must to be sold in green, identical packaging that has graphic health warnings in Australia beginning with December 1.

The World Health Organization approved the High Court of Australia ruling regarding the plain packaging law and expressed hope that other countries will follow similar moves, including Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

Recently smoking is banned in most public places especially indoor spaces such as restaurants, bars across Australia.

This week New South Wales state will enact tough legislation extending it to playgrounds, swimming pools, and transport stations.

There is another intention for Canberra to introduce a full ban on tobacco products following its High Court victory, but Attorney-General Nicola Roxon declared that the question had to be passed step by step.

Roxon told that the government made great efforts in this fight and she is glad that the High Court supported the decision and they’re going to make progress with introducing that, that’s what their government is doing.

Roxon added that they do not have any intention to ban cigarettes.

Roxon said that when she was health minister children had written to her asking her to ban tobacco and she told them “that might be something that your generation has to take up”.

“Tobacco control has always been a step at a time, and the very big step that we’ve taken this week is the High Court giving a tick to the government’s plain packaging measures,” she said.

Australia is still dealing with action at the World Trade Organization over the plan from Ukraine, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, as well as an investment treaty lawsuit filed by Philip Morris Asia in Hong Kong.

Court experts reported that the Hong Kong case was especially concerning as Australia’s bilateral investment treaty with the Chinese area did not have special clauses for public health measures as provided in WTO agreements.

Kyla Tienhaara, regulatory expert from the Australian National University, said that the government presented very strong reasons on its side, but consequences in investment arbitration are known hard to foretell.

Now foreign investors are provided greater rights under international investment treaties than domestic companies are accorded under Australian law.

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