Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Sydney (online.wsj.com) - A legal showdown over advertising has broken out between the Australian government and the world’s big tobacco companies.  Tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. on Monday said it is suing Canberra for billions of dollars in damages over its world-first plan to wipe all marketing off of cigarette packs. The new laws passed by Parliament on Monday will make Australia the first country to restrict logos, branding, colors and promotional text on tobacco packets. Beginning December 2012, product names will appear in standard colors and positions in a plain font and size on packets colored a dark olive-brown, which government research has found holds the lowest appeal to smokers. Health warnings with graphic images of the harmful effects of smoking will have to make up 75% of the front of the packaging and 90% of the back.
Like Philip Morris, other big tobacco companies British American Tobacco PLC and Imperial Tobacco Group PLC are vehemently opposed to the measures and have said they will challenge the laws in court. “We are left with no option,” said Philip Morris Asia spokesperson Anne Edwards, in a prepared statement. “The government has passed this legislation despite being unable to demonstrate that it will be effective at reducing smoking and has ignored the widespread concerns raised in Australia and internationally regarding the serious legal issues associated with plain packaging.”  Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the government is confident with its position after receiving legal advice about the Philip Morris action.  “Big tobacco is ignoring the will of the Australian Parliament and is prioritizing their profits over the lives of everyday Australians with this action,” Ms. Roxon said in emailed comments.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing the Australian government over a new legislation that means all tobacco will need to be sold in plain olive-brown packets with graphic health warnings.  Australia’s Minister for Health and Ageing said while the tobacco industry was “fighting to protect its profits, we are fighting to protect lives”. “Packaging remains one of the last powerful marketing tools for tobacco companies to recruit new smokers to their deadly products. In the future, cigarette packets will serve only as a stark reminder of the devastating health effects of smoking,” she said.
Smoking is an epidemic of public health, which daily puts in danger the life of many people. The slow poison of nicotine produces a traumatic effect in the mind of an addict, so that in the absence of the poison makes you feel depression, insecurity, nervousness and so on; and at the same time it creates dependence of false concepts like: “by smoking I get nice opportunities to meet interesting people.” Don’t fool yourself with such propaganda! You are an eternal soul and have a mission to fulfill. ... Dear friend of my soul, is time to wake up - better late then never, but take your decision today. And if you still have cigarettes in your pocket, then destroy them and throw them far away.  I love you and care for you so much, because you are my eternal brother/sister. I want you to be a winner over illusion, one of the souls who already learned that life is about giving, instead of taking, instead of smoking.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
“Cigarette Addiction”

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