Australia and France forge ahead with new packaging plans

Monday, 16 April 2012

16 April 2012 - France finalised a decision to introduce graphic health warnings on all cigarette packages and this week Australia unveiled plans to become the first country to introduce mandatory standardised packaging.

Sources: Le Monde , BBC News

On 16 April 2010, France’s Minister of Health, Roselyne Bachelot, announced that graphic health warnings will be required on all cigarette packages in France.

Text warnings will cover 30% of the front of packages, and the new pictorial warnings will cover 40% of the back of packages, in addition to border size. Fourteen of the recommended EU health warnings have been chosen, and will be required on all cigarette packages from 20 April 2011, 1 year after the publication of the official decree. Please see the PDF below to read the decision and see the proposed images.

France becomes the sixth EU country to require pictorial warnings, joining Belgium (2006), Romania (2008), UK (2008), Latvia (2010) and Malta (2011). Some non-EU countries (Switzerland, Norway and Turkey) have also required pictorial warnings based on images taken from the European Commission library of 42 images. Worldwide, at least 36 jurisdictions have required pictorial warnings.

This week, Australia has set out plans for new rules forcing tobacco companies to use standardised packaging with graphic health warnings. This will mean that from July 2012, manufacturers would be required to drop all colour and branding logos from cigarette packets. All tobacco products will be sold in a standard colour and style, and carry government health warnings.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd aims to cut smoking-related deaths to under 10% by 2018.

The Government also announced a 25% increase in tax on cigarettes, effective from Friday 30 April. The move will put A$2.16 (€1.51) on a pack of 30 cigarettes.

"We welcome the introduction of graphic warnings in France and we are thrilled that Australia understands that the tobacco package is the silent saleman to recruit young people and women to a lifetime of tobacco addiction" said Florence Berteletti Kemp, Director of the Smoke Free Partnership.

"The review of the Tobacco Products Directive currently underway constitutes a major opportunity to introduce mandatory graphic warnings and standardised packaging in the European Region (and beyond); the Australian success is a huge boost to the campaign we have started and we hope that EU decision makers will seize this opportunity to follow the Australian example."

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