Tobacco giants fume at Australia's plans for unbranded cigarette packets
They have been responsible for some of the most famous advertising and marketing campaigns in history, but this week the world's big four tobacco companies found themselves on the back foot. In a global test case, they went to Australia's highest court to try to block plans for cigarettes to be sold in unbranded packets.
From December, all cigarettes in Australia will have to be sold in olive-green packs with stark health warnings, graphic photos and no brand logos. Only company names will be permitted in a small, standard font.
British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International argue that moves to force them to use unbranded packaging are unconstitutional because they allow the government in effect to acquire their property – the trademarks and logos – without compensation.
The case has been watched around the world, including in Britain, where the government began consultation over unbranded packaging this week. On Thursday, New Zealand's government agreed in principle to introduce unbranded packaging for all tobacco products based on Australia's legislation.