Giant tobacco firms call it creative marketing but Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was not impressed at all with the latest ploy of cigarette manufacturers to circumvent Australia's plain packaging laws, set to take full effect December 2012.
Giant tobacco firms call it creative marketing but Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was not impressed at all with the latest ploy of cigarette manufacturers to circumvent Australia’s plain packaging laws, set to take full effect December 2012.
Ms Plibersek was particularly angered by Imperial Tobacco's decision to 'comply' a bit early with the new regulation but with a twist.
The company issued a new packaging for its Peter Stuyvesant brand, in which the old label appears being ripped off to make way for the dull and plain covering of a cigarette pack as required by the new federal laws that will roll out in gradual implementation by October 1.
Along with the re-packed product, Imperial Tobacco distributed leaflets that say: "Soon no one will see Peter Stuyvesant on the outside but we don't care ... it's what's on the inside that counts."
According to News Ltd, Imperial Tobacco called its new marketing move as "a mechanism to provide factual information about upcoming legislative changes to adult consumers of the Peter Stuyvesant brand of cigarettes."
"It is also important to inform our adult consumers that the product itself will remain unchanged," the cigarette maker said in a statement.
But the Health Ministry labelled the campaign as desperate efforts to get around the plain packaging laws, which is explicit in requiring that 75 per cent of cigarette packs' front label must be covered by graphic health warning, on top of the generic plain packaging.
Ms Plibersek said in a statement on Wednesday that Imperial Tobacco was attempting to peddle its product with a sick joke, adding that "what's really on the inside of a smoker are diseased lungs, hearts and arteries."
"Smoking-related diseases kill 15,000 Australians a year and the government is determined to reduce the pain and suffering caused by this deadly product," the Health minister was reported by the Australian Associated Press (AAP) as saying.
She added that Philip Morris was notified too by her office too, warning that its initial batch of newly-repacked cigarettes were not 100 per cent compliant with the new laws.
Tobacco firms are expected to push out their repacked products this week and according to Ms Plibersek they can be assured that the government will closely monitor the fresh roll outs "to ensure that they comply with the regulations."
"We know that Big Tobacco will use every trick in the book to try and get around the new requirements," she added.
The Health Ministry said that the matter has been referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission "to ensure that the graphic health warnings comply with the standard and we will continue to do so as issues are identified."
Tobacco companies are expected to immediately rectify any issues once their attention has been called regarding non-compliance on plain packaging laws, Ms Plibersek added.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Jaden Smith Clarifies Emancipation Reports with Dad Will Smith on TV Show ‘Ellen’ [PHOTOS AND VIDEO]
- Demi Lovato Snapped Getting Flirty with The X-Factor Boss, Simon Cowell? [PHOTOS]
- Robsten Romance: New Thorns on the Rosy Love Between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart [SLIDESHOW]
- SEE PHOTOS! Eva Longoria Wears No Panties at Cannes 2013, Revealed in Embarrassing Wardrobe Malfunction [SLIDESHOW]