The High Court of Australia has rejected the legal challenge by big tobacco against Australia’s plain packaging of tobacco laws.
The Gillard Government welcomed the decision, labelling it a victory for those families who have lost someone to a tobacco related illness.
Attorney General Nicola Roxon said in a press conference: “We have taken on big tobacco and we have won.”
The decision will allow the government to impose a ban on all brand marketing and logos on cigarette packets, and will take effect from December this year.
Graphic health warnings will dominate the packets, and brand names will be written in a generic font. Plain packaging will restrict tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text appearing on packs. Brand and product names will be in a standard colour, position and standard font size and style.
The High Court has awarded costs against the tobacco companies, which are estimated to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In a media statement, Roxon said: “Plain packaging is a vital preventative public health measure, which removes the last way for big tobacco to promote its deadly products. Over the past two decades, more than 24 different studies have backed plain packaging, and now it will finally become a reality.”
She said “big tobacco” threw everything they could to try to stop this reform.
Roxon said tobacco companies should now “stop trying to stymie this reform internationally and get on with implementing this important change”.
The High Court decision is said to likely influence governments around the world, including by Norway, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, EU, New Zealanad, France, South Africa and China.