Target: Australian Parliament, Health Ministry, and Labor Government
Goal: Commend Australia for fighting against smoking on a government level by banning company logos and colors from cigarette packs.
Australian recently became the first country in the world to get rid of company advertisements on cigarette packs and introduce plain packaging without company logos and colors. The only decor on the new plain cigarette packs are anti-smoking messages and pictures of rotting teeth and tarred lungs. The Australian labor government hopes that this new marketing strategy will work to reduce smoking levels from 16 percent to 10 percent by 2018. Sign this petition and commend Australian government for taking the initiative on a new marketing strategy against smoking.
Major tobacco companies, such as Phillip Morris, Imperial Tobacco, and British American Tobacco (BAT) fought against this new law and took their argument to Australia’s High Court, which ruled in favor of the government. According to the BBC, the government argued that with 15,000 people dying from tobacco-related deaths each year at a cost of over $30 billion, the government had a duty to act. The tobacco companies’ major argument was that by denying them the right to advertise with their packaging, the new law was infringing on intellectual property rights by banning the use of brands and trademarks. However, the high court ruled in favor of the government and said that the law was not unconstitutional as the company name and brand variant were allowed in small print at the bottom of the box.
With company logos and colors gone from the packs, cigarettes may seem less cool to new smokers. Additionally, as the packs are now all the same olive green color with similar pictures demonstrating what smoking does to a person’s health, it will be more difficult for vendors to find the specific pack that an individual asks for, making the process longer and more troublesome for the buyer. With the plain packaging, the Health Ministry and Labor Government hope to reduce smoking levels by at least six percent and help cut the cost to society both in the number of people dying from tobacco related deaths and in the cost of their health care.
Australia has been a frontrunner in the fight against smoking. Advertisements and commercials on television and radio were banned in 1976 and print advertisements in newspapers were prohibited in 1989. In 1992, tobacco sponsorship of sporting and cultural events was also outlawed. Other nations, such as Britain, France, Norway, and New Zealand, who were following this court case, may be able to emulate similar measures against smoking. Sign this petition and applaud the Australian government for taking on the tobacco industry and fighting against smoking with this new marketing strategy.
Dear Australian Parliament, Health Ministry, and Labor Government,
Thank you for taking a stand against smoking and for working to push the marketing strategy to eliminate company logos and colors from cigarette packaging and enforce a plain packing initiative. It is our hope that with the plain packaging, you will be successful in your goal of cutting smoking levels by six percent and helping to cut smoking in Australia all together.
While some will argue that this measure is a government overstep into the life and personal freedom of the individual, we feel that this is an important step in reducing the power and the hold of the tobacco industry over our nations. For too long they have held sway in legislature and millions of lives have been lost in preventable tobacco-related deaths. The tobacco industry is a false and cruel business, marketing its deadly products to children and new smokers who become addicted –all of which is legal in nations around the world.
By outlawing logos and colors from the packaging, you can help to reduce the number of new smokers and perhaps even encourage current smokers to quite because of the hassle added to trying to locate their favorite brand. By allowing the only graphics on the packaging to be shocking truths about the effects of tobacco on a person’s health, you will put the ugliness of gum, tooth, mouth, and lung cancer in the buyer’s face and in his or her mind as well. With any luck, other nations will follow suit and take similar measures to outlaw cigarette advertisements on their packaging.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fried Dough via flickr