The decision of BAT (British American Tobacco) to challenge the Federal Government’s “plain packaging” legislation is wonderful news. This seller of highly carcinogenic products will only take this action – and risk a huge volume of adverse publicity – if it believes these measures will cut heavily into its sales and profitability. Moreover, firms such as BAT have the best information around about what determines tobacco demands. They sell a simple toxic product that kills people and their main expertise lies in marketing this product. They are signalling by their costly actions that this proposed policy action will be successful. Almost every country is considering this sort of legislation so the success of the Australian legilation will impact on these countries around the world. The “plain packaging” legislation must definitely now be pursued even if BAT wins its case in the courts. Policy-makers now know they are on the right track in attacking it which should strengthen our resolves to institute it. The entire global community of people who favour life over death will thank us.
Updates: Others agree with this analysis:
“…Professor Mike Daube, president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, says the tobacco industry’s fierce opposition to the plan is the best evidence it will have an impact”. (723)