PUBLIC HEALTH AND PLAIN PACKAGING OF CIGARETTES
Edited by Tania Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell and Jonathan Liberman with Glyn Ayres
Edward Elgar Publishing Limited
ISBN: 978 0 85793 942 5
'BIG TOBACCO' - INFORMED DEBATE ON A TIMELY TOPIC
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Hell hath no fury like a tobacco company scorned. Now that the principle of 'plain packaging' of cigarettes has been reasonably well established across a number of jurisdictions worldwide, it is enlightening to note, as the expert contributors to this book have done, the positively incandescent rage demonstrated by various large and litigious tobacco companies in their overtly hostile and muscle-flexing attempts to bully governments into submission over the plain packaging issue.
Interestingly, it is Australia (the first country to introduce mandatory plain packaging of tobacco products) that has been one of the prime targets of the wrath of what the Aussies call 'Big Tobacco' -- hence the fact that the learned, well researched and quite enlightening articles in this book are mostly from Australia-based academics whose outlook is international and whose research is truly impressive.
Published in 2012 by Elgar, the book is probably only one example of the intellectual and legal fire power that Australia has had to enlist in order to tackle the relentless campaigning of powerful, cash-rich tobacco companies against it over its stand on plain packaging.
For example, as disclosed in the article by contributor Thomas Faunce, the multi-national company, Philip Morris, issued a submission which announced, among other things, that it intended to lodge a notice of dispute with Australia, claiming billions of dollars in damages. This was in 2010, a year before the Australian plain packaging legislation was introduced into Parliament. With a 'no-country-is-too-small' attitude, the company, also in 2010, picked on Uruguay's tobacco regulations.
Apparently Philip Morris was well experienced in this type of legal activity, having successfully lobbied the Canadian parliament on plain packaging in 1994. It claimed that such legislation would constitute an illegal expropriation of its trademark and demanded millions of dollars in compensation.
In 1997, however, a bill was passed in the US prohibiting the use of government funds, basically to promote the sale, or export of tobacco products, or remove restrictions on marketing them.
It was in 2001 that President Clinton signed an Executive Order much to the same effect. 'It was thus no surprise when... the Australian government indicated its resolve to pass the plain packaging legislation' says Faunce. In the Australian context, the dispute grinds on in what he calls the twilight zone between international public law (including human rights law) and commercial arbitration.
Any number of related facts, commentaries and analyses of this fiercely contested issue are also dealt with in this important and timely volume, which as far as we know, is one of the few that examines plain packaging issues in depth.
If you're interested in tobacco regulation in the international arena, buy this book. With its massive array of research resources, including extensive bibliography and lists of legal instruments, documents, cases and awards, it will certainly assist and inform practitioners, scholars and policy makers in law, medicine and public health worldwide.