Tag Archives: cigarette pack

Phillip Morris Starts Legal Suit against Australian Government

Today the leading cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris started a legal suit against the Australian government, which plans to remove company logos from cigarette packages and substitute them with horrible images depicting the consequences of smoking.

The government supposes that these images featuring blinded eyes, cancerous mouths and many other awful things will make the cigarette package less attractive to smokers.

Lawsiut against Australian Government

Phillip Morris against Australian Government

Australian government authorities also think that the new regulations will make the country the world’s rigorous place on tobacco advertising.

But several enraged cigarette producers have since threatened lawsuits, declaring that the move illegally decreases the value of their trademarks. Philip Morris is one of those companies to lay an action for compensation.

“We would expect that the compensation would constitute billions,” said Philip Morris representative Anna Edwards.

The legislation, which will be revised by the Parliament, would prohibit cigarette manufacturers from placing their logos and various attractive images on cigarette packages. Brand names will instead be printed in a quite small font and depict large graphic warnings and grisly colored images of the consequences of smoking. The law would be gradual, starting in January 2012.

Hong Kong-based Philip Morris Asia Limited, laid an action on Monday declaring that the legislation infringes a bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. The tobacco enterprise states that the treaty defends the companies’ property, such as trademarks. The plain packaging plan strictly decreases the value of the company’s trademark, according to Anna Edwards.

“Our cigarette brands are the one and the most indisputable key valuable assets that we possess as a company – it is what allows us compete and moreover it’s what empowers us to differentiate our products. This move would significantly mean the confiscation of our brand in Australia,” Edwards stated.

Authorities are also eager to move forward the message that smoking affects your children.

The government disclaims that the given plan infringes any laws and declared that it would not stop.

“Our authorities are resolute more than ever to undertake everything they can in order to decrease the hazard caused by smoking,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon stated.

“We won’t permit be frightened by various tobacco companies, which take legal actions,” said Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

She also ignored Philip Morris’ threats stating that they are not going to allow tobacco producers to implement their skilful tactics.

The legal action laid on Monday starts a three-moth period of collaborations the two parties.

Philip Morris declared if a positive outcome is not achieved by the end of this period, it will require arbitration. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced similar graphic warnings for cigarette packaging last week.

FDA Introduces Nine New Graphic Warnings

Within a few days Food and Drug Administration will introduce nine new graphic warnings that will demonstrate the negative effects of smoking. Among the advised images are diseased teeth and gums and a man with tracheotomy smoking.

The given labels will occupy the top half of the package, both front and back. Graphic warnings also should appear in advertisements and compose 20% of an ad. All cigarette producers should comply with this regulation till the autumn 2012.

New FDA Warnings on cigarette packs

New FDA Warnings on cigarette packs

Assignments to introduce new health warnings were part of a law adopted in 2009 that, for the first time allowed the federal government to regulate tobacco products, including fixing guidelines for marketing and labeling, prohibiting particular products and reducing nicotine. However the law doesn’t permit the FDA prohibit nicotine or tobacco.

The declaration follows reviews of scientific literature, various public comments and results from researches and studies conducted by the FDA.

Some of the warnings proposed last year included a mother blowing smoke in her baby’s face and cigarettes being flushed down to signify quitting. They included such phrases as “Smoking kills you” and “Smoking causes cancer” and demonstrate graphic warnings to prove the dangers of tobacco.

Whether the federal government chose these images for the new labels remains a question. In the last years, nearly 30 countries have implemented labels similar to those introduced by the FDA. The first US warning label was adopted in 1965, which stated “Smoking may be hazardous for your health”. Present labels – a black and white text were placed on cigarette packages in the 80s.

The new warnings come as the rate of Americans who smoke has dropped significantly since 1970, from approximately 40% to about 20%. The rate has delayed since about 2004. About 46 million in the U.S. regularly use tobacco products.

It is incomprehensible why decreases in smoking have stopped. Certain experts have referred to tobacco company discount coupons on smokes or absence of funding for programs to eradicate smoking or to help smoker kick the habit.

As it is impossible to state how many people stop smoking due to graphic warnings, certain studies state that particular labels do push people to quit. The new warnings assure an opportunity for a regular smoker to see warnings on the hazards of smoking more than 7,000 times per year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in those countries where graphic warnings were introduced, a great number of smokers considered about quitting.

Maryland ridiculous tax policy prompts smokers to hit the road

During the first six months of 2009, the volume of tobacco products sales across Maryland have fallen by 25. Have the 25 percent of regular smokers that live in Maryland simultaneously dropped smoking looking for a healthy life? I don’t think so.

The major reason for such a dramatic drop is the increase in the state cigarette taxes, that made Maryland become the fourth state in the list of state with highest cigarette taxes.

Maryland smokers currently have to pay $2 for each pack of cigarettes they buy across the state. The previous tax was $1-per pack.

Tobacco tax revenue

One part of smokers decided to limit the consumption of precious smokes, and the other part simply turned their heads to flourishing black market.

Legislators state that they have increased cigarette taxes to help Maryland smokers kick down their harmful habit in favor of a more healthy life. However, this statement is rather ridiculous since the last thing that those adult smokers need is a nanny state telling them what they should do.

Nevertheless, as we all understand the actual aim of the tax increase is collecting more money to help cash-strapped state to cope with dramatic hole in the budget that local government has created by their own. Their intentions are rather clear, since it became popular recently to tax the unpopular minority instead of protecting their personal rights and freedoms.

Thus, as the independent analysts had anticipated, the amount of profit generated by exceptional tobacco taxes has been mush smaller than the government expected. It is just another proof to the axiom that lack of economic knowledge results in revenue losses.

Before approving the tax increase, the Maryland lawmakers should have looked on the state map better. The matter is that every state neighboring Maryland has lower cigarette taxes: Pennsylvania has a $1.35-a-pack, Delaware’s smokers pay $1.15 tax, Virginia is home to one of the lowest taxes in the nation with modest 30 cents per pack, and West Virginia has 55 cent-per pack cigarette tax. Since Maryland is very small in size, its residents prefer to cross the borderline to stock up for cigarettes in the neighboring states.

It was proven a long time ago, that the more restrictions the lawmakers place on a product, the more flourishing the black market becomes. Smokers seek cheaper cigarettes and the black market supplies them, so it is not surprising that police authorities claim they expect the number of detained cigarettes smugglers to double this year in comparison to the previous years.

Maryland authorities state thy have taken control on the smugglers of cigarettes. Police agents have been standing across the borders of Maryland to detain every person who has more cigarettes in their cars than the legal limit permits (two packs), and every individual caught on smuggling would face hefty fines and even prison terms.

Well, in my humble opinion, it is just a plain stupid initiative. I do really think that police officers should better crack down the gangs of smugglers instead of detaining people looking for the opportunities to buy cigarettes at lower cost since they simple could not afford paying $8 for every cigarette pack.