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Analysis and Comment (39)

Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Boarded up: how companies are trumping our health. Eschipul

Beware, secret trade deals can seriously damage your health

If I asked you to name some of the current threats to your health, “international trade law” probably wouldn’t be on the tip of your tongue. Yet trade agreements, and the way we negotiate them, can affect…
Tobacco kills at least half of users - lobbyists are smaller fry. Tobacco kills at least half of users - lobbyists are smaller fry. Brittany Perry

I have more faith in people than tobacco lobbyists

I recently interviewed Nicola Roxon, the former minister responsible for cleaning up Australia’s public health policy through legislation on standardised tobacco packaging. It shed some light on how public…
The tobacco industry has stated publicly that it’s helping countries bring claims against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law. The tobacco industry has stated publicly that it’s helping countries bring claims against Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law. LUKAS COCH/AAP

Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law at the WTO

Earlier this month, Cuba became the fourth country to challenge Australia’s plain tobacco packaging law by requesting consultations with Australia through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Tobacco companies…
Big Tobacco’s planners eye their world maps and salivate over large, poorly educated populations. Big Tobacco’s planners eye their world maps and salivate over large, poorly educated populations. Image from shutterstock.com

Big Tobacco losing ground on plain packs but homing in on world’s poor

Plain packing has been a reality for Big Tobacco in Australia for three months now; New Zealand announced last week it will follow suit; and at least four other nations, including India, are also considering…
Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Kylie May; shutterstock.com; Morberg; Pranjal Mahn

2012, the year that was: Health + Medicine

It promised to be a full year of reforms: pokies legislation, front-of-pack food labels and a dental system that doesn’t cost those in need an arm and a leg. But while we did see cigarette companies forced…
The High Court decision is not a quirk of Antipodean constitutional law, as alleged by British American Tobacco. The High Court decision is not a quirk of Antipodean constitutional law, as alleged by British American Tobacco. AAP

The High Court and the Marlboro Man: the plain packaging decision

The High Court of Australia’s ruling on the plain packaging of tobacco products is one of the great constitutional cases of our age. The ruling will resonate throughout the world - as other countries will…
Sweden is ahead of many nations in anti-smoking efforts but it’s not at the head of the class. Sweden is ahead of many nations in anti-smoking efforts but it’s not at the head of the class. Jess Pac

My complacent country: why Sweden has long way to go on tobacco reform

In general, Swedes tend to have a good self-image. Not necessarily of ourselves as individuals but of Sweden and Swedes as a whole. The general view is that we are more democratic, liberal, rational, equal…
It’s time for the Future Fund to end its deadly addiction to tobacco investment. It’s time for the Future Fund to end its deadly addiction to tobacco investment. Robert Huffstutter

No future? End the Future Fund’s affair with Big Tobacco

Australia has shown outstanding leadership on tobacco control - but it could do more. The next step is surely for the Future Fund to quit its addiction to tobacco investments. The Gillard government’s…
India is the second-largest producer and consumer of tobacco products in the world. India is the second-largest producer and consumer of tobacco products in the world. Ram Reddy

Plain tobacco packaging in India: a giant leap for global public health

The world is watching Australia progress toward tobacco plain packaging. A number of developed countries have said they will follow suit. But as tobacco companies lose their grip in developed countries…
A new off-shore phase of jurisprudence has the potential to undermine national authorities. A new off-shore phase of jurisprudence has the potential to undermine national authorities. Lukas Coch/AAP

An affront to the rule of law: international tribunals to decide on plain packaging

The Australian High Court has found that the Gillard Government’s Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 does not breach that section of the constitution that prohibits federal legislation acquiring property…
There’s a broad base of public support for government action against smoking in New Zealand. There’s a broad base of public support for government action against smoking in New Zealand. Barbara Walton/AAP

Big Tobacco on the warpath against plain packaging in New Zealand

The tobacco industry has launched an advertising campaign against the New Zealand government’s proposal to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. According to the media campaign, plain packaging…
Tobacco control campaigns succeed because they’re realistic and amenable to implementation. Tobacco control campaigns succeed because they’re realistic and amenable to implementation. giannisl/Flickr

Bring on the end of tobacco use – but not a total ban tomorrow

The High Court decision to reject Big Tobacco’s case against plain packaging was not a surprise – but it was nonetheless a stunning victory for the government and for public health. But there is still…
If saving lives is the goal, a ban on tobacco looms large to anyone who cares to look. If saving lives is the goal, a ban on tobacco looms large to anyone who cares to look. David Hegarty

Why banning cigarettes is the next step in tobacco control

The Federal government’s High Court win on cigarette plain packaging is another sign that the carcinogenic mist is dispersing to finally reveal the smoking elephant in our collective lounge room. The pachyderm…
Uruguayan chancellor Luis Almagro, whose his country will join efforts with Australia to face Phillip Morris. Uruguayan chancellor Luis Almagro, whose his country will join efforts with Australia to face Phillip Morris. EPA/SASHENKA GUTIERREZ

Why bilateral investment treaties are the last refuge of Big Tobacco

The tobacco industry has no recourse other than to pursue its challenge to the Australian government’s plain cigarette pack legislation via international trade agreements in the wake of yesterday’s High…
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek take questions after the High Court decision. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek take questions after the High Court decision. AAP/Lukas Coch

Government wins first battle in plain packaging war

The government and health advocates are deservedly celebrating the High Court decision on plain packaging. But tobacco companies have been quick to note that while they’ve lost a key battle, they intend…
The High Court has ruled the enforcing plain packaging is constitutionally legal. The High Court has ruled the enforcing plain packaging is constitutionally legal. AAP/Lukas Coch

The Olive Revolution: Australia’s plain packaging leads the world

After much political debate, the Australian Parliament passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth). Australian legislators, such as Richard di Natale, provided moving accounts for the need for plain…
Australia’s High Court has dismissed the plain tobacco packaging case brought against the government by tobacco companies. Australia’s High Court has dismissed the plain tobacco packaging case brought against the government by tobacco companies. TRACEY NEARMY/AAP

Big Tobacco crashes at first legal hurdle on plain packaging

This morning Australia’s High Court dismissed the plain tobacco packaging case brought against the Australian government by the world’s largest tobacco companies. The companies had challenged the government’s…
The Federal Government’s plain packaging legislation has been emblematic of how a foreign investor’s right to sue governments can be abused. So why is ACCI’s new campaign ignoring some important facts? The Federal Government’s plain packaging legislation has been emblematic of how a foreign investor’s right to sue governments can be abused. So why is ACCI’s new campaign ignoring some important facts? AAP

ACCI’s right to sue campaign not supported by the facts

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has apparently decided that it is up in arms over a Gillard government policy announced more than a year ago. In April 2011, the federal government…
Former health minister Nicola Roxon has won numerous awards for the plain packaging legislation. Former health minister Nicola Roxon has won numerous awards for the plain packaging legislation. AAp/Tracey Nearmy

In praise of Australia’s best minister for prevention

It isn’t often that an Australian minister visits the United States to acclaim, is hailed as a “global champion” and receives a major award to accompany assorted national and international awards already…
Leaders of the member states of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) from 2010. Leaders of the member states of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) from 2010. Gobierno de Chile/Wikimedia Commons

A mercurial treaty: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the United States

According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ron Kirk, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is “an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values…
Cigarettes are the only commercial product that kills one in two of its regular users when consumed as intended. Cigarettes are the only commercial product that kills one in two of its regular users when consumed as intended. Jayaprakash R/Flickr

Why work with Big Tobacco?

Big Tobacco’s desperate efforts to oppose the introduction of tobacco plain packaging have been supported by a potpourri of consulting, legal, advertising, public relations and lobbying organisations…
The government argues that plain packaging is “directed to informing, redressing and reducing harm to the public health." The government argues that plain packaging is “directed to informing, redressing and reducing harm to the public health." AAPIMAGE/Tracey Nearmy

Big Tobacco’s box fetish: plain packaging at the high court

Tobacco, says the World Health Organisation (WHO), is “the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer.” Supporting the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco…
It appears as though Philip Morris Asia only acquired the Australian companies in order to be able to launch this claim under the Hong Kong BIT. It appears as though Philip Morris Asia only acquired the Australian companies in order to be able to launch this claim under the Hong Kong BIT. AAP

Big Tobacco vs Australia: Philip Morris scores an own goal

You may have missed it, but the stoush between Big Tobacco and the Australian government over the plain packaging legislation took an odd turn late last year. The government’s response to Philip Morris…
Plain packaging is one of many health reforms to enter or pass through parliament last week. Plain packaging is one of many health reforms to enter or pass through parliament last week. AAP

Plain packaging wraps up a big year for health legislation in 2011

The final sitting of federal parliament last week lacked no drama, ending with the sudden induction of Peter Slipper as speaker. It was also a mammoth week for health legislation, with the passing of the…
It’s expected that the removal of trademarked images, designs and colours from tobacco packaging will make smoking less attractive. It’s expected that the removal of trademarked images, designs and colours from tobacco packaging will make smoking less attractive. Valentin.Ottone

Big Tobacco’s looming High Court challenge to plain packaging law

Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced today that the implementation of plain packaging for tobacco products will be pushed back until December 1 next year. The Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill passed through…
Don Draper may like a smoke but the madmen of the tobacco industry do all they can to undermine public health. Don Draper may like a smoke but the madmen of the tobacco industry do all they can to undermine public health. collider.com

Tobacco’s mad men threaten public health

Non-communicable diseases – Matthew Rimmer examines plain packaging as a way to curb tobacco use. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of non-communicable diseases. In an episode of the television show…
roxon plain pack. roxon plain pack. AAP

World-first plain packaging for tobacco products a step closer to becoming law

Legislation requiring tobacco products to be in plain packaging was passed by the House of Representatives last night. This is the first such measure in the world to come so close to becoming law. We asked…
Big Tobacco will exploit the proposed investment provisions in the TPPA to undermine regulatory attempts. Big Tobacco will exploit the proposed investment provisions in the TPPA to undermine regulatory attempts. AAP

Big Tobacco v Australia: dangers looming in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

With the tabling of the Plain Packaging Bill in Parliament this week, Australia again stands at the forefront of the struggle against Big Tobacco. But this stance is under attack in a whole new set of…
Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Health promotion has a lot of catching up to do on social media. Steve Kay

Quit-smoking texts send clear message to outdated health promoters

Smokers who quit with the assistance of a text messaging service are nearly twice as likely to be smoke-free six months later than smokers with no support, according to a study published this week in The…
Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? Is legal action becoming a bad habit for tobacco companies? effb/Flickr

Big Tobacco v Australia: taking the battle to the global stage

This week’s legal action by tobacco giant Philip Morris to overturn the federal government’s plain packaging proposals is not its first attempt to stifle anti-tobacco legislation. Philip Morris is also…
It is far from clear whether Philip Morris' tactic against plain packaging will succeed. It is far from clear whether Philip Morris' tactic against plain packaging will succeed. AAP

Big Tobacco v Australia: Philip Morris jumps the gun on legal challenge

In the latest salvo in the fight over plain packaging for tobacco products, Philip Morris is launching legal action under Australia’s bilateral investment treaty with Hong Kong. The key aspect of Philip…
Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. Plain packaging could spell the death of the cigarette brand in Australia and beyond. thana/flickr

Spluttering on: why big tobacco just can’t butt out on plain packaging

British American Tobacco Australia has launched yet another attack on the Australian government’s plain packaging legislation. On top of its latest “Where’s the proof?” campaign, launched today, it is…
The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” The WTO allows countries to take measures “necessary for public health.” AAP

Smoke and mirrors: Big Tobacco’s last gasp legal challenge to plain packaging

The Government’s plan to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products has been raised at the Council for TRIPS meeting in Geneva this week. In a note to TRIPS delegates, the Indonesian Government has…
Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today. Part of the British American Tobacco Australia campaign launched today.

Big Tobacco’s death-defying campaign on plain packaging

The tobacco industry has launched a national media campaign today, questioning the Federal Government’s proposed plain packaging legislation. It will also release a series of confidential government documents…
The AAR campaign against plain cigarette packaging is funded by big tobacco. The AAR campaign against plain cigarette packaging is funded by big tobacco. Jessica Rabbit/Flickr

Tobacco PR push runs out of puff as retailers play victim

Ever since Pope Urban VII spent part of his 13-day reign in 1590 threatening smokers with excommunication, smoking regulation has been controversial. And the response from tobacco supporters and companies…
Incremental measures have reduced smoking among men from 72% in 1945 to 21% in 2007. Incremental measures have reduced smoking among men from 72% in 1945 to 21% in 2007.

Plain cigarette packaging will change smoking… slowly

When it comes to branding and advertising, much of what we are exposed to creates only marginal difference. But even small differences can tip the balance toward a particular choice, and plain packaging…

Research and News (2)

Research Briefs (1)