Better ways of achieving plain packaging goals

The third largest tobacco company in the world, Japan Tobacco Group, has expressed frustration at the Australian High Court’s ruling that on August 15 supported the reasons of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act.

Japan Tobacco Inc posted a note on their website in which it was said that the ruling shows the limitedness of the legal reasons on which the Act was challenged, which are unique to Australia’s constitution section 51.

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The note as well said that the tobacco company, that produces flagship cigarette brands like Winston and Camel, will analyze the High Court’s opinion after it is released and then estimate the situation.

Although the current goal of business of Japan Tobacco in Australia is not big, the company intends to protect their business against plain packaging, as a matter of principle.

JT as well said that the tobacco company launched its constitutional challenge in December 2011 to defend its tobacco brands and trademarks from being purchased by the government without compensation. This right is assured to all property owners by the Australian Constitution.

‘Other disputable questions arising from Australia’s plain packaging law are still pending before the World Tobacco Organization where Ukraine, Honduras and Dominican Republic have implemented the first measures towards controversy resolution under WTO rules. These countries provide strong reasons that the Australian plain packaging law breaks WTO rules.’

The cigarette maker said that the Australian government should turn attention to its international trade duties before coming into operation.

And it made the point that other countries where plain packaging steps were under advisement had different legal systems. The decision of the court was not indicative, much less conclusive, of the constitutionality or legality of plain packaging in those jurisdictions.

‘The JT Group will as well control developments in other jurisdictions where plain packaging measures are under advisement,’ the Group declared. ‘A strong submission to the recent consultation in the UK on plain packaging was made in July 2012 and can be found on the websites of the company.’

The Group expressed its opinion that though public policy reasons concerning tobacco control were not before the High Court, it maintained proportionate and evidence-based regulation of tobacco products.

‘Plain packaging is an obviously disproportionate move and there is no reliable proof that it will reach legitimate public health goals,’ the company said.

‘Its unexpected effects are serious.’

‘There are less limiting, more proportionate methods of achieving such goals.’

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