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Australian Ruling On Cigarette Logo Ban A 'Landmark Event' For Global Health

“The ruling this week by Australia’s high court to uphold its government’s right to introduce ‘plain packaging’ for tobacco products is a landmark event for global health,” John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, writes in this Health-e opinion piece. “As the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, I am grateful for this ruling on plain packaging, as it will undoubtedly reduce the cancer burden in Australia,” he continues. “However, the significance of this Australia ruling extends to countries around the world and the global health community,” he adds, noting, “The reason tobacco companies have fought vociferously against plain packaging is because they know this will have a major impact in not only decreasing the number of new consumers who may become addicted, but also because other countries may follow Australia’s lead.”

“The decision extends beyond even the U.S. FDA proposal to place graphic warning labels on U.S. cigarette packages, which itself is being challenged in court by the tobacco industry,” he writes. “This decision at the highest level of Australia’s court system will likely incentivize and motivate other countries to follow suit with similar legislation against an extremely well-funded and powerful tobacco industry,” he continues, concluding, “We have seen tobacco industry leaders issue ominous warnings about their continued efforts to challenge packaging in other countries, but we stand strong and united as a global community, committed to working together to prevent needless death and disease from the global scourge that is tobacco” (8/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.