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Australia v Big Tobacco

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Efros
827170.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:43 am Reply with quote

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13923095

Seems Australia has managed to piss off Big Tobacco (BT) more than any other territory in the world.

Now much as I dislike the tactics of BT generally I think the Aussie government may be hard pressed on this one.

 
Jenny
827217.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:34 am Reply with quote

That link didn't work for me Efros, but I assume this is the story you mean?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Philip-Morris-threatens-to-rb-3221821621.html?x=0&.v=1

 
soup
827219.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:41 am Reply with quote

They can sell them in plain brown wrappers to people that are ringing a bell for all I am concerned Neither the wife nor kids smoke and I gave up smoking seven years ago. My brother (who smokes) doesn't seem to care what the packet looks like .

I am pretty much a live and let live guy but I do object to the smell of smoking. If someone wants to do it out of my immediate area then fair enough, but some people seem to be anti-smoking zealots and wish to stop people smoking anywhere..

 
Efros
827228.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:54 am Reply with quote

I agree, but I think the major interest here is the arguments BT are putting forward to contest the Aussie govt action. Some of them seem to be fairly cogent.

 
Jenny
827231.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:55 am Reply with quote

I'm moving this thread to WFHIT as I think it's more of a discussion topic than banter.

 
Efros
827243.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:08 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Jenny.

 
CB27
827324.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:00 pm Reply with quote

I personally hope Australia go ahead with this, not because I particularly support the idea, but because I think it's ridiculous for a corporation to threaten legal action against a state for threatening their profits, without any properargument that this threatens personal freedoms of people.

As I understand it, this packaging won't change who can buy cigarettes, or where, so people's right to buy cigarettes is not affected. Big corporations might suffer if it evens out the market and/or reduces the number of new smokers taking the habit up.

I don't know how much trade there is between Hong Kong and Australia, as well as China and Australia, but I'd like to think cigarettes are not such an enourmous part that Australia and Hong Kong can't turn around and tell PM "You and who's army?"

 
PDR
827338.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:27 pm Reply with quote

So you think it's OK to unilaterally renege on an agreed treaty, freely entered into and duly signed by both sides?

Interesting.

PDR

 
CB27
827367.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:50 pm Reply with quote

The treaty is between Australia and Hong Kong, not Australia and cigarette companies.

As far as I can see the rule on packaging does not single out any Hong Kong business, nor does it single out a product which can be proven to have been chosen because of where it's predominantly imported/manufactured.

Therefore I don't think someone like PM have the right to delay Australia's legislation by demanding negotiations, my response would be "bring it on".

The simplest argument against PM would be to find something that's legally traded/manufactured in Hong Kong, but is illegal in Australia, and vice versa (should be easy to find), and show that if a country's legislation affects a product, a commercial company cannot dictate rules to these countries.

So if I were Australia and Hong Kong I'd tell PM "You and who's army?" and laugh them out.

 
Neotenic
827370.  Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:06 pm Reply with quote

Personally, I just hope the legal wranglings on this one churn on for a considerable period of time.

I can understand why PM feel the need to defend the packaging, as the bits which aren't already covered by icky pictures are the only turf they have to set out their brand identity, given that it's now pretty much illegal to advertise cigarettes on any flat surface.

And PM have more to lose than others, as their brands tend towards the 'premium' end of the market.

For me, a smoke is a smoke - I've never particularly felt that a Marlboro was really worth the mark-up when compared to other, cheaper brands. So I tend towards the lower end of the price-scale market.

So how does a company maintain in it's customers minds the idea that they are somehow peddling 'deluxe' cigarettes if they can't chuck a bit of gold paint on the box?

I can also see why Australia is wanting to lead the charge on stomping out smoking, seeing as how so much of the country is ineffably flammable.

So I'm indifferent to the substance of this particular action - but as long as they're fighting this battle, they're not introducing ever more draconian restrictions on precisely where one can choose to spark one up.

 
soup
827400.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:17 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Personally, I just hope the legal wranglings on this one churn on for a considerable period of time.


What so lawyers can get richer.

I would need to see this treaty to see what its limits were. I have trouble believing that it is as restrictive as to specify what can and can't appear on a cigarette packet. Are people going to stop smoking because their cigarette packet is no longer emblazoned with brand markings?

 
exnihilo
827421.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:05 am Reply with quote

They obviously can't be completely plain or retailers wouldn't know which was which, so how plain must they be? Just the name in a standard font? Then perhaps we'll see brands changing their name to be far longer and include marketing information.

Established smokers will presumably go for their own brand and this is really targeted at new smokers, but if it does come in expect to see a bump in whichever one can cleverly get their product placement on TV and films - Lucky Strike on Mad Men anybody?

 
Neotenic
827435.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:54 am Reply with quote

"Mr Tobacconist, I'll have a packet of 20 Smooth-And-Tasty-Rich-And-Satisfying-Premier-Marlboro-Gold, if you please."

 
Efros
827445.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:24 am Reply with quote

I liked the ones you could get in the UK some 20 years ago, came in a black pack and were called Death.

here they are!

http://lastexitblog.com/2008/03/12/death/

 
CB27
827475.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:22 am Reply with quote

Didn't they used to be sold in the cinemas or something like that?

 

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