• May 28, 2024

Even plainer packaging

plain packaging photo
Photo by Michael 1952

Australia’s Federal Health Department has said it will not be taking any action against Imperial Tobacco for breaching Australia’s standardized packaging legislation, according to a story by Lachlan Thompson for the Ipswich Queensland Times.

The department has instead chosen to take what it calls a ‘conciliatory’ approach.

In July, Thompson revealed that Imperial was selling packs of 20 Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes with a lift-out soft pack inside the ugly, olive boxes mandated by the government.

Imperial said at the time the packaging was intended to ensure the cigarettes were ‘fresh’ – not a deliberate attempt to enable smokers to carry around a more aesthetically pleasing pack of cigarettes.

On Monday, the Department revealed, for the first time, that it had been aware of what the tobacco company was doing since late February 2016.

The Health Department’s deputy secretary, Wendy Southern, said the department had engaged with the manufacturer through correspondence and the company had undertaken to remove the product from the market.

Thompson wrote that under the Plain Packaging Act the Commonwealth was able ‘to pursue tobacco companies for small fines in the first instance then civil penalties – which can amount to millions of dollars and finally criminal prosecution – if companies wilfully break the laws’.

In the past three financial years there had been 135 breaches of plain packaging legislation, he wrote.