Australia’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Law Faces Crucial Test By Stickers Marketing Company

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 13, 2012 3:49 PM EST

Barely two weeks only into effect and Australia's tobacco plain packaging law will face an acid test of effectiveness and authority once a stickers marketing company launches its wraparound stickers for cigarette packs.

Anthony Do Rozario, general manager of Box Wrap, a sticker manufacturing company, said they created the wraparound stickers based on smokers' perceptions that their self-rights had been disrespected by the law.

"People feel they have had their choice ripped off them," Mr Do Rozario said.

Australia's tobacco plain packaging law, which took effect on December 1, mandated that packages or boxes of tobacco, regardless of brand or manufacturer, must be packed in plain olive green, as well as contain visible health warnings without individual trademarks. 

Based at Yatala, the Gold Coast company's drastic innovation has been regarded by many as a complete disregard to the existing law.

"We are just a sticker company that is no different from a cigarette case," Mr Do Rozario said.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has urged on the Australian federal government to immediately put a stop to the company and its marketing blitz because its end goal is to hide the health warnings on tobacco boxes, which runs against the law's very purpose which is to educate the people of the ill effects of smoking.

"Those graphic health warnings are there for a very important reason. Over a million Australians have died because they smoked, but I think covering up those health warnings, I think the Federal Government is going to act very quickly and ban those products," Steve Hambleton, AMA president, said.

"It is just morally wrong for a business to profit from selling items in relation to goods that are lethal when you use them as the manufacturer intended."

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, for her part, said she believed the law is effective.

"The fact they're making the stickers proves what we're doing with the tobacco plain packaging law is effective," she told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Still, she said she has asked lawyers to investigate if the manufacture and sale of the stickers breach the tobacco plain packaging laws.

"I think it's important for Australians to have freedom of choice," Mr Do Rozario argued.

But such arguments circumvent the plain packaging legislation.

"It's there for a very good reason. We believe it will decrease smoking rates in Australia by another notch so we don't want to see anything that can actually get around this legislation," Dr Hambleton said.

Mr Do Rozario said a packet of their stickers will be sold in their online shop for $8.75. Plans to  expand them physically for sale in shops by early 2013 are underway.

Read more:

Plain Tobacco Packaging Takes Effect

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