Plain cigarette packaging
Plain cigarette packaging, also known as generic, standardised or homogeneous packaging, refers to packaging that requires the removal of all branding (colours, imagery, corporate logos and trademarks), permitting manufacturers to print only the brand name in a mandated size, font and place on the pack, in addition to the health warnings and any other legally mandated information such as toxic constituents and tax-paid stamps. The appearance of all tobacco packs is standardised including the colour of the pack.
History of Plain Packaging 
Public health officials in Canada developed proposals for plain packaging of tobacco products in the 1990s. A parliamentary committee reviewed the evidence and concluded that plain packaging could be a “reasonable step in the overall strategy to reduce tobacco consumption”. The committee recommended that legislation be implemented pending the outcome of government-sponsored research on the likely effectiveness of plain packs. However following tobacco industry lobbying and changes in government ministers the proposal was dropped.
Australia, with the enactment of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act in 2011, became the first country in the world to require tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging. Products manufactured since October 2012, and all on sale since 1 December 2012 must be plain packaged.
Evidence and criticisms 
Direct, concrete evidence of plain packaging’s effectiveness was unavailable until its release in Australia. On 24 May 2011 Cancer Council Australia released a review of the evidence supporting the introduction of plain packaging to reduce youth uptake. The review had been conducted by Quit Victoria and Cancer Council Victoria. The review includes 24 peer-reviewed studies conducted over two decades, suggesting that packaging plays an important role in encouraging young people to try cigarettes. First impressions in Australia indicated that smokers feel that cigarettes taste worse in plain packaging - an unexpected side effect. In addition, evidence from quantitative studies, qualitative research and the internal documents of the tobacco industry consistently identify packaging as an important part of tobacco promotion.
Studies comparing existing branded cigarette packs with plain cardboard packs bearing the name and number of cigarettes in small standard font, found plain packs to be significantly less attractive. Additionally, research that asked young adults to use plain cigarette packs and afterwards asked them about their feelings towards them, confirmed findings that the plain packaging increased negative perceptions and feelings about the pack and about smoking. The plain packs also increased behaviours such as hiding or covering the pack, smoking less around others, going without cigarettes and increased thinking about quitting. Almost half of the participants reported that plain packs had either increased the above behaviours or reduced consumption.
Auction experiments have determined that a likely outcome of plain packaging would be to drive down prices of tobacco products. Other arguments against plain packaging include its effect on smuggling, its effect on shops and retailers, and its possible illegality. Campaigners claim to have refuted these claims 
In reporting Philip Morris's legal action against the Australian project, The Times of India noted that the plain packaging legislation is being closely watched by other countries and that tobacco firms are worried the Australian plain packaging legislation may set a global precedent.
In July, 2012, it was reported that the American lobbying organisation, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), had launched a worldwide campaign against plain packaging of cigarettes. With the backing of tobacco companies and other corporate interests, it is targeting governments which are planning to introduce bans on cigarette branding, including the UK and Australia.
As of May 2013 Cuba, Ukraine, Honduras and the Dominican Republic have challenged Australia's rules through World Trade Organization by filing requests for consultations, the first step in challenging Australia’s tobacco-labeling laws at the W.T.O. A request for consultations opens a 60 day negotiation window after which a formal complaint may be filed, which if successful, might lead to heightened tariffs on Australian exports. The packaging of Cuban cigars is notably attractive if permitted.
Plain packaging around the world 
Under the legislation, companies have had to sell their cigarettes in a logo-free, drab dark brown packaging from 1 December 2012. Government research found that olive green was the least attractive colour, particularly for young people. After concerns were expressed over the naming of the colour by the Australian Olive Association, the name was changed to drab dark brown. With the plain packaging and tax increases the Australian government aims to bring down smoking rates from 16.6 per cent in 2007 to less than 10 per cent by 2018.
Tobacco industry response 
In August 2010, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco formed the Alliance of Australian Retailers, which commenced a multimillion dollar campaign against plain cigarette packaging. The campaign focused on grassroots advocacy (astroturfing), ostensibly on behalf of small business owners. When the funding source of the campaign was made public, large retailers such as Coles and Woolworths quickly withdrew support for the campaign. The tobacco companies subsequently hired a public relations firm to oversee the campaign.
In May 2011, British American Tobacco launched a media campaign suggesting that illicit trade and crime syndicates would benefit from plain packaging. BATA CEO David Crow threatened to lower cigarette prices in order to compete, which he claimed could result in higher smoking amongst young people. Mr Crow later commented he would tell his own children not to smoke cigarettes, because they are unhealthy.
The BATA campaign is largely based on a report from Deloitte. Several of the claims contained in the report related to border protection, and have since been publicly refuted by customs officials, and the report itself indicated that it had relied extensively on unaudited figures supplied by the tobacco industry itself.
In June 2011 Philip Morris International also announced it was using investor-state dispute settlement provisions in the Australia-Hong Kong Bilateral Investment treaty (BIT) to demand compensation for Australia's plain packaging anti-smoking legislation. In response, Health Minister Nicola Roxon stated that she believed the government was "on very strong ground" legally, and that the government was willing to defend the measures.
In November 2011, British American Tobacco announced that it would challenge the laws in the High Court as soon as they gained royal assent. Immediately following the passage of legislation on 21 November 2011, Philip Morris announced it had served a notice of arbitration under Australia's Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong, seeking the suspension on the plain packaging laws and compensation for the loss of trademarks. Allens Arthur Robinson represented Philip Morris. In August 2012, the High Court ruled in favour of the Australian government. The continuance of trade and investment proceedings on the issue has been described as an affront to the rule of law in Australia.
Other responses 
The World Health Organization applauded Australia’s law on plain packaging noting that “the legislation sets a new global standard for the control of a product that accounts for nearly 6 million deaths each year”.
The Cancer Council of Australia hailed the passing of the legislation, stating, “Documents obtained from the tobacco industry show how much the tobacco companies rely on pack design to attract new smokers....You only have to look at how desperate the tobacco companies are to stop plain packaging, for confirmation that pack design is seen as critical to sales."  The World Health Organization's director for the Western Pacific also congratulated Australia and stated that all countries and areas in the Western Pacific should follow Australia's good example.
Speaking on Radio Australia, Don Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University, noted that Philip Morris was pursuing multiple legal avenues. The Notice of Arbitration under the bilateral investment treaty between Hong Kong and Australia has a 90 day cooling off period after which the case would most likely be sent to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington. He stated that Philip Morris was most likely aiming for the Australian Government to back down, or failing that, to sue for compensation. He said the questions to decide are whether the legislation means that Australia would acquire property by the imposition of these rules and if this legislation is a legitimate public health measure.
Professor Rothwell noted "...the growing recognition of the legitimacy of public health measures of this type." Professor Rothwell estimated that the legal cases, including any case before the High Court, would take up to a year to decide. However, in the United States, Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that graphic health warning labels "clearly display the government’s opinion on smoking" which he said "cannot constitutionally be required to appear on the merchandise of private companies." He ruled that these warnings would unfairly hurt their sales, that the warnings were crafted to provoke an emotional response calculated to quit smoking or never to start smoking. This, the judge ruled, was "an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information.” This finding may be appealed.
The Associated Press noted that Philip Morris took "less than an hour" to launch legal action against the Australian legislation. It also stated that Australian legislation followed the lead of Uruguay which requires that 80 per cent of cigarette packages is devoted to warnings and Brazil, where cigarette packages display "graphic images" of dead fetuses, haemorrhaging brains and gangrenous feet.
Gavin Allen of the Daily Mail newspaper reported that the Philip Morris lawsuit could cost the Australian government "billions". He also noted that the Australian law is being closely watched by other governments in Europe, Canada and New Zealand. In 2005 the World Health Organization urged countries to consider plain packaging and that Bhutan had banned the sale of tobacco earlier in 2011.
New Zealand Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia congratulated the Australian health minister, noted that tobacco labelling rules have long been harmonised between Australia and New Zealand and looked forward to New Zealand following suit.
In April 2011, Minister Roxon released an exposure draft of plain packaging legislation with an expected start date of 1 July 2012. Australian newspapers reported that the legislation was likely to pass despite concerns from the Opposition. It was suggested the Opposition resistance to the legislation was due to their continuing acceptance of funding donations from tobacco companies.
Minister Roxon introduced the plain packaging bill to Parliament on 6 July 2011, and it passed through the Lower House on 24 August 2011. The legislation passed the Upper House on 10 November 2011 with the amended start date of 1 December 2012. Due to the changed start date the legislation returned to the Lower House before being given royal assent. Legislation finally passed on 21 November 2011.
As of August 2012 Canada is believed to be considering plain packaging.
European Union 
In 2010 the European Commission launched a public consultation  on a proposal to revise Directive 2001/37/EC which covers health warnings, limits on toxic constituents, etc., for tobacco products. The consultation included a proposal to require plain packaging. The Commission is now deliberating on the response to the consultation and is expected to make recommendations in late 2012. Although Commissioner Dalli has rejected plain packaging as an option, the European Union included in its proposal for a new Tobacco Products Directive the option for the Member States to introduce plain packaging. Legal scholars consider plain packaging to be consistent with primary European law and German law.
As of August 2012 Norway is believed to be considering plain packaging.
In December 2010, a UMP member of the French parliament tabled a member's Bill aimed at creating plain packaging. However the bill did not pass despite ongoing support from health associations. As in other countries there was fierce protest from the tobacco industry and retailers associations. The health minister also seemed luke-warm in his support, preferring to see the effect of newly introduced health warnings.
However, the new Socialist government health minister, Marisol Touraine, said she would fight especially at the European level for "neutral packaging". The tobacco industry countered that generic packaging would be easy to counterfeit, which would increase illegal cigarette sales.
As of August 2012 India is believed to be considering plain packaging. BJD MP of Orissa, Baijayant Jay Panda, has submitted in the Lok Sabha a private members bill seeking an amendment to the anti-tobacco law aimed at increasing the size of health warning on tobacco product packets. The bill seeks amendment to the original act from 2003 to stipulate for plain packaging of cigarette and tobacco products in the country and increase the size of health warning and the accompanying graphic on cigarettes packets.
New Zealand 
The New Zealand government is actively considering plain packaging laws but it may prove to be a barrier in negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States. In April 2012 Cabinet approved plain packaging in principle, a move that tobacco companies said they would strenuously oppose. The government launched a three-month public consultation on plain pack in July 2012 and attracted over 20,000 submissions (including overseas) from public health groups and also the tobacco industry. Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia announced the approval of plain packaging of tobacco products in alignment with Australia, while awaiting for the result of the legal challenges faced by the Australia Government.
In September 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Turkish government was working on plain packaging regulations. An Istanbul-based newspaper, Milliyet, reported that under the proposal all branding elements would disappear and cigarettes would come in "numbered black boxes" excluding any imagery other than health warnings.
United Kingdom 
In March 2011, the Coalition Government committed itself to holding a public consultation on tobacco packaging. This is due to take place in spring 2012.
The "Plain Packs Protect" campaign by an alliance of health organisations sets out the case for tobacco plain packaging in the UK, as does Cancer Research UK's "The Answer Is Plain" campaign, which was launched soon after the government consultation was announced. Opposing this is the smokers' rights group FOREST, funded by the tobacco industry, which has launched a counter-campaign titled "Hands Off Our Packs".
- "Generic Packaging Meeting 22/9/93: Reference Documents". Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Towards Zero Consumption: Generic packaging of tobacco products". Canadian Standing Committee on Health. June 1994. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Results of plain packaging committee hearings". Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. 15 April 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- David Jolly (May 6, 2013). "Cuba Challenges Australian Tobacco Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2013. "All four nations argue that provisions of a 2011 Australian law, the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act, have created “technical barriers” to trade and violate intellectual property rights."
- "Cigarette plain packaging laws pass Parliament". ABC News. 21 November 2011.
- Cancer Council Australia Website
- Cancer Council Australia Position Statement, May 2011
- Wakefield, M. A.; Germain, D.; Durkin, S. J. (2008). "How does increasingly plainer cigarette packaging influence adult smokers' perceptions about brand image? An experimental study". Tobacco Control 17 (6): 416–421. doi:10.1136/tc.2008.026732. PMC 2590906. PMID 18827035.
- Rootman I, Flay BR. A Study on Youth Smoking - Plain Packaging, Health Warnings, Event Marketing and Price Reductions (1995)
- Moodie, C.; MacKintosh, A. M.; Hastings, G.; Ford, A. (2011). "Young adult smokers' perceptions of plain packaging: A pilot naturalistic study". Tobacco Control 20 (5): 367–373. doi:10.1136/tc.2011.042911. PMID 21752795.
- Thrasher, J. F.; Rousu, M. C.; Hammond, D.; Navarro, A.; Corrigan, J. R. (2011). "Estimating the impact of pictorial health warnings and "plain" cigarette packaging: Evidence from experimental auctions among adult smokers in the United States". Health Policy 102 (1): 41–48. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.06.003. PMID 21763026.
- London Economics, "The Role of Packaging Imagery on Consumer Preferences for Experience Goods" , 2012
- Tobacco industry myths - Cancer Research UK
- Reuters (22 November 2011). "Tobacco major sues Australia over 'plain packaging' laws". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "Cuba files dispute against Australia on tobacco plain packaging". World Trade Organization. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2013. "Cuba notified the WTO Secretariat, on 3 May 2013, of a request for consultations with Australia on the Australian Tobacco Plain Packaging Act of 2011 that regulates the appearance and form of retail packaging used in connection with sales of cigars, cigarettes and other tobacco products."
- Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011
- Thompson, Jeremy (7 April 2011). "Cigarette rethink: Logos out, death and disease in". ABC News.
- Rodgers, Emma (29 April 2010). "Cigarette tax to increase 25pc from midnight". ABC News.
- "Government to demand no frills cigarette packets". ABC News. 29 April 2010.
- Macey, Jennifer (4 August 2010). "Big tobacco bankrolls anti-Labor ad campaign". ABC News.
- "Retail group quits cigarette label campaign". ABC News. 11 August 2010.
- "Leaks reveal $9m tobacco blitz". Lateline. 10 September 2010.
- Davies, Anne (11 September 2010). "Big Tobacco hired public relations firm to lobby government". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Plain Packs Website
- "Tobacco Companies Declare War". ABC News.
- Johnson, Stephen. "British American Tobacco Australia boss David Crow tells his kids not to smoke". news.com.au.
- Professor Simon Chapman
- Irvine, Jessica (20 May 2011). "It's plain to see what's behind the smokescreen". The Age.
- "Big Tobacco takes on the nanny state". Yahoo Australia.
- Klya Tienhaara and Thomas Faunce Gillard Must Repel Big Tobacco's Latest Attack. Canberra Times 28 June 2011 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/opinion/editorial/general/gillard-must-repel-big-tobaccos-latest-attack/2209168.aspx
- "Roxon Introduces Plain Packaging Bill", ABC News, 6 July 2011
- "Plain cigarette packaging to start in 2012". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 November 2011.
- Ben Lewis (23 November 2011). "Philip Morris Begins Arbitration Proceedings With Australia Over Tobacco Packaging Law". LAW.COM.
- Faunce TA. Affront to the Rule of Law-international tribunal to decide on plain packaging The Conversation 29 August 2012 https://theconversation.edu.au/an-affront-to-the-rule-of-law-international-tribunals-to-decide-on-plain-packaging-8968 (accessed 29 August 2012)
- "WHO applauds Australia's new tobacco packaging legislation". World Health Organization. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Paul Grogan (21 November 2011). "Great day in public health, as parliament signs off on tobacco packaging bills". Cancer Council, Australia. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- World Health Organization (23 November 2011). "WHO Applauds Australia's New Tobacco Packaging Legislation". Solomon Times Online. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Australia sued over cigarette plain packaging laws". ABC International Radio Australia. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Mandy Honeychurch (8 November 2011). "Federal Judge Deems FDA's Antismoking Warning Labels Unconstitutional". Berkeley Political Review. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Ryan Jaslow (8 November 2011). "FDA's graphic cigarette warning labels: Beyond free speech?". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Associated Press (21 November 2011). "Australia passes no-logo cigarette package law; Philip Morris quickly takes legal action". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Gavin Allen (22 November 2011). "Cigarette giant Philip Morris sues Australian government for billions over plain packaging law". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- "New Zealand to follow Australia's controversial plain packaging law for cigarettes". Xinhua News Agency. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Roxon, Nicola (April 2011). "Exposure Draft, Plain Packaging Bill". Australian Government.
- Hayward, Andrea (24 May 2011). "Cigarettes Likely to get plain packages". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Packham, Ben (1 June 2011). "Abbott out of puff on plain packet laws". The Australian.
- "Plain packaging legislation passes Lower House". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 Aug 2011.
- "Cigarette packaging legislation passes Senate". ABC News. 10 November 2011.
- Zappone, Chris (2012-08-15). "Tobacco fight not over, Phillip Morris says". The Age. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "Public consultation on the possible revision of the Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC". European Commission. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Plain packaging proposals for tobacco will 'damage business'". Talking retail. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Henning, Peter K.; Shmatenko, Leonid (November 2012). "Plain Packaging on Its Way to Europe: Competence Issues and Compatibility with European Fundamental Rights". Transnational Dispute Management 9 (5): 1–17. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Shmatenko, Leonid (February 2013). "Verfassungsmäßigkeit von Einheitsverpackungen (Plain Packaging) bei Zigaretten". Juristische Ausbildung (JURA) 35 (2): 74–81. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Tabac: la Ligue contre le cancer veut des paquets de cigarettes "neutres"". LCI, TF1. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Plain cigarette packets considered". The Connection. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Le gouvernement favorable à des "cigarettes neutres"". 31 July 2012.
- "Tobacco fight not over, Phillip Morris says", by Chris Zappone, The Age, August 15, 2012. Accessed August 15, 2012
- "Bill submitted in Lok Sabha for amending tobacco act 2003", Business Standard, September 14, 2012. Accessed October 10, 2012
- Brook Sabin (November 12, 2011). "Tobacco companies to battle on NZ ground". 3 News. MediaWorks TV. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- "Cigarette pack rules have makers fuming". Otago Daily Times (AAP). April 20, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- "Proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in New Zealand". Ministry of Health, New Zealand. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Tariana Turia (19 February 2013). "Government moves forward with plain packaging of tobacco products" (Press release). New Zealand Government. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Turkey Working on Cigarette Branding Ban Law, Milliyet Says". Bloomberg. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Healthy lives, healthy people: a tobacco control plan for England". Department of Health (UK). 9 March 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Tobacco packaging 'targets teens' - Press Association, 26 April 2012
Campaigns for plain packaging
- Plain Packs Protect - plain packaging campaign in the UK
- Plain Packaging, Smokefree Action Coalition, UK
- The Answer is Plain, Cancer Research UK
- Plain packaging materials advocated by non-government tobacco control organisations, hosted by Cancer Council Australia
- Plain packs Aotearoa (New Zealand) - Plain packaging campaign in New Zealand
- Article with links to graphic health warnings
- Allyn Taylor, Regulatory Chill and Challenges to Tobacco Packaging Laws, Jurist Forum, December 7, 2011