Big Tobacco Threatens to Slash Prices in Australia

Tuesday the tobacco companies threatened to reduce the cigarettes’ price if Australia intends to launch plain packaging with the warning that people will die of smoking.

On April 2011, Australia decided to release cigarettes in drab olive-green packets plastered with graphic health warnings.

According to the introduced legislation, cigarette packaging will be without any logo and brand name of tobacco companies must be in a specific font.

cigarettes and money

cigarettes and money

As a result, Tuesday some tobacco companies, and namely British American Tobacco, started a national media campaign against the “unproven plans”. Australian chief executive David Crow of British American Tobacco said about the warning of a boom in the black market.

He declared that in the case if all cigarette packs have the same look and lose their trademarks and characteristics, counterfeiters will have a big opportunity to produce packets and carry cigarettes to Australia.
“In the longer term, the price of cigarettes could potentially reduce,” he said, adding that the cheap prices will increase the number of smoking people and more kids will smoke.

The Melbourne Herald Sun reported that it will lead bad consequences such as high rates of smoking people.
In a statement, Crow in a statement said that it has not been proven plain packaging would reduce smoking.
He added that it is unknown if the government has some proofs that plain-packaging experiment will work and if it guarantees that taxpayers’ money won’t be wasted on legal fees and compensation.

Canberra reports that 15,000 Australian population die of tobacco-related diseases every year, and tobacco smoking costs the country Aus$31.5 billion annually in healthcare and lost productivity.

Nevertheless Australia would be the first country to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes; New Zealand, Canada and Britain have considered a similar policy.

Such move has enraged the tobacco industry. Imperial Tobacco Australia already said that it planned to challenge the move on the grounds that it would impact profits.

British American Tobacco says the proposed legislation is not yet approved by parliament and such law would violate international trademark and intellectual property laws.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said that tobacco companies intend to protect their brands and profits and at the same time want to reduce prices to get people used to smoking.

It is a senseless argument from them, added Nicola Roxon.

“Plain packaging is one method that we know to reduce the harm caused to people by smoking tobacco products.”

The Cancer Council said that “scare tactics” of the tobacco industry meant it was seriously worried.

Chief executive Ian Olver said that this awful threat from the tobacco industry should send a clear message to anyone who questions the evidence on whether plain packaging will work.

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One Response to Big Tobacco Threatens to Slash Prices in Australia

  1. tony bailey says:

    I believe that this would be a good time for the tin case manufacturers to ramp up there production of tobacco cases, then send all the empty packages of health warning packs to Nicola Roxon in Canbera.for this legislation is another stupid Idea of this Labor Government

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