Phillip Morris have sought to reject the ‘plain packaging’ legislation approved by the Australian Parliament today via an appeal to the High Court. If the appeal fails this firm seeks compensation for the loss of the value of its brands of several billion dollars. It is interesting to note that the Coalition joined with the Government to approve the final bill.
Every effort should be taken by the Government to prevent Phillip Morris from overturning the legislation and compensation should be zero. Indeed once this round of reforms goes through a new round of anti-smoking restrictions needs to be devised – new taxes, no duty free cigarettes, restricting the sale of cigarettes to those who areknown to already be nicotine addicts etc etc.
The newspaper report mentions that this firm claims the measure has not been shown to be effective in reducing smoking. That is not their concern clearly – they are simply worried about lost profits. But yes there is no evidence on this issue because it has never been tried before. That of course does not mean there should not be a trial of the innovative idea of plain packaging. The stridency of this carcinogen’s claims suggest they believe the measure will be effective.
To make it simple Phillip Morris provide a product which kills people when it is consumed as intended. That Australia seeks the annihilation of such an anti-social entity should be a source of nationalistic pride not of doubt. There is no case for backtracking on this one and certainly no case for spending 1 cent of public money compensating this firm for having restrictions placed on their evil commercial activities.
As the menace of tobacco is progressively reduced more and more focused and explicit measures will be needed. Targeting particular groups of smokers – aboriginees and migrants – will become essential. I have aleady provided a plan to rid society of smoking almost entirely in one generation. No retreat is possible here. – get rid of these carcinogen-supplying merchants of death ASAP. (207)