At a press conference announcing stringent restrictions on what can or can’t be printed on cigarette packs in Australia, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd showed a cigarette package that carried a photograph of a foot infected with gangrene. The copy: “Smoking causes peripheral vascular disease.” According to Rudd, that’s the kind of health warnings cigarette packs will carry once a new law goes into effect in July 2012. And by the way, added Rudd, forget about branding of any kind. All tobacco products will have to be sold in a standard colour and style.
According to packagingnews.co.uk, Australia is the first in the world to ban branding on packs of cigarettes. Cigarette companies are not happy about the announcement. In addition to preventing them from differentiating one product from another, they fear that plain packaging will encourage trade in counterfeit and contraband cigarettes in Australia.