The University of Sydney and the history of plain packaging for cigarette packets

Professor Simon Chapman has published on the University of Sydney’s website the timeline leading up to the Australian plain packs ban. As there is no real link I have cut and pasted it into my blog. It is always nice to get to a mention.

16 Jan 2012: UK’s Smoke Free South West (Bristol) holds information day on plain packaging, with opening speech by Simon Chapman. Launches campaign.  Parliamentary head of joint party committee on tobacco Stephen Williams publishes supportive blog which is attacked by trolls from Freedom2Choose pro-smoking group.”

Chris Snowdon too.

21 Feb 2012: Shrill libertarian UK pro-smoker Christopher Snowdon publishes clichéd, error-ridden and commentary on plain packs for tobacco industry funded Adam Smith Institute.”



A time-line of significant events and news media coverage.

Simon Chapman*, Michelle Scollo**, Anne Jones***, Stafford Sanders***

Mike Daube ****, Marita Hefler*

Jonathan Liberman**

*School of Public Health University of Sydney

** Cancer Council Victoria

*** ASH Australia

**** Curtin University, Western Australia

17 April 2012

12th update

This time line will be regularly updated. Submit suggestions for additions to

1. Australian plain packaging pre-history[1]

15 April 1992: Australian Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy (composed of health and police ministers) proposes large new warnings and asks for a report on plain packaging.  

This was after consideration of a report produced for it which recommended on the basis of its findings about the impact of packaging on the effectiveness of warnings that ‘regulations be extended to cover the colours, design and wording of the entire exterior of the pack’ (p18).

Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer. Paper 13: Adolescents’ reactions to cigarette packs modified to increase extent and impact of health warnings.



26 April 1994: WD & HO Wills tobacco company memo. “Mike Daube’s influence as Chairman of the Tobacco Task Force reviewing pack labelling in 1991 was a crucial first step in a wider agenda, which, of course, culminated in the CBRC Report in 1992.”


11 May 1994: J.G. Castel ‘Would Plain Packaging for Cigarettes Violate Canada’s international trade obligations?


May 1994: National Intellectual Property Section of the Canadian Bar Association, ‘Submission to the Standing Committee on Health on Plain Packaging for Tobacco Products’, May 1994,


17 July 1995: Australian Medical Association says it will be pushing for plain packaging.
24 July 1995: Advisor to (then) Australian health minister Carmen Lawrence rejects the idea of plain packaging, citing need to explore international trade and legal issues.

15 Dec 1995: Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee releases its (160 page) report. ‘The Committee considers that, on the basis of the evidence received, there is not sufficient evidence to recommend that tobacco products be sold in generic packaging.’
1997: Hertz, Allen Z.  ‘Shaping the Trident: Intellectual Property under NAFTA, Investment Protection Agreements and at the World Trade Organization’, (1997) 23 Can.-U.S. L.J. 261


September 1997 Australian government formally replies to Senate Committee Report:

‘In response to the mounting interest in generic packaging, the Commonwealth obtained advice from the Attorney General’s Department on the legal and constitutional barriers to generic packaging. This advice Indicates that the Commonwealth does possess powers under the Constitution to introduce such packaging but that any attempt to use these powers to introduce further tobacco control legislation needs to be considered in the context of the increasingly critical attention being focussed on the necessity, appropriateness, justification and basis for regulation by such bodies as the Office of Regulatory Review, the High Court, and Senate Standing Committees. In addition, further regulation needs to be considered in the context of Australia’s international obligations regarding free trade under the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), and our obligations under International covenants such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).”

6 Aug 2007: Becky Freeman, Simon Chapman & Matthew Rimmer publish The Case for the Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products on the Social Sciences Research Network. It is published after peer review in Addiction.

April 2008: Tobacco Journal International runs as its cover story “Plain Packaging can kill your business.” (ed: that’s the whole idea)




9 April 2008: Health Minister Hon Nicola Roxon announces establishment of Preventative Health Taskforce

7 July 2008: Taskforce Chairman Rob Moodie announces that Discussion paper will be produced

10 Oct 2008: Release for consultation of the draft report of the Preventative Health Taskforce recommending plain packaging

17–22 Nov 2008: Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control adopt guidelines on advertising and package labelling that recommend the use of plain packaging

Oct 2008 to Nov 2009: Consultation sessions by the Preventative Health Taskforce  

 1 Dec 2008: Publication of  report on crucial Australian research on plain packaging.  Wakefield M, Germain D, Durkin S. How does increasingly plainer cigarette packaging influence adult smokers’ perceptions about brand image? An experimental study. Tobacco Control 2008;17(6):41621.


15 April 2009: Preventative Health Taskforce announces that it has considered more than 400 submissions received on its draft report released in October

10 June 2009: Health taskforce may recommend plain cigarette packaging. Lateline, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, (Sydney) 2009.   Includes extended interview with Cynthia Callard, Physicians for a Smokefree Canada

30 June 2009: Preventative Health Taskforce provides final report to Government for consideration

20 Aug 2009: Australian Senator Steve Fielding Plain Tobacco Packaging (Removing Branding from Cigarette Packs) Bill 2009 introduces a bill to require plain packaging of tobacco products which was referred for consideration to the Senate Community Affairs Committee.  Submissions to the Inquiry at

Final Report on the Plain Tobacco Packaging (Removing Branding from Cigarette Packs) Bill 2009, 2010, Senate Community Affairs Committee.

1 Sept 2009: Minister releases the final report of the National Preventative Health Taskforce recommends plain packaging as part of a comprehensive package of measures to make Australia the healthiest country in the world by 2020.

Preventative Health Taskforce. Australia: the healthiest country by 2020. National Preventative Health Strategy. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2009.

‘Plain packaging would prohibit brand imagery, colours, corporate logos and trademarks, permitting manufacturers only to print the brand name in a mandated size, font and place, in addition to required health warnings and other legally mandated product information such as toxic constituents, taxpaid seals or package contents. A standard cardboard texture would be mandatory, and the size and shape of the package and cellophane wrapper would also be prescribed. A detailed analysis of current marketing practices[11] suggests that plain packaging would also need to encompass pack interiors and the cigarette itself, given the potential for manufacturers to use colours, bandings and markings, and different length and gauges to make cigarettes more ‘interesting’ and appealing. Any use of perfuming, incorporation of audio chips or affixing of ‘onserts’ would also need to be banned.’

Roxon says at launch “we are killing people by not acting”.

Tobacco Working Group. Technical report no. 2. Tobacco in Australia: making smoking history. Canberra: National Preventative Health Taskforce, 2008.



2. Australian Papers in Peer Reviewed Journals and Scholarly e-Depositories re Australian Plain Packaging

Freeman B, Chapman S, Rimmer M. The case for the plain packaging of tobacco products. Addiction 2008;103:580-90.

Physicians for Smoke-Free Canada. The plot against plain packaging. How multi-national tobacco companies colluded to use trade arguments they knew were phony t oppose plain packs. April 2008

Wakefield M, Germain D,  Durkin S. How does increasingly plainer cigarette packaging influence adult smokers’ perceptions about brand image? An experimental study. Tobacco Control 2008;17(6):416-21.

Germain D, Wakefield MA and Durkin SJ. Adolescents’ perceptions of cigarette brand image: does plain packaging make a difference? Journal of Adolescent Health 2009;46(4):38592.

Chapman S, Freeman B. The cancer emperor’s new clothes: Australia’s historic legislation for plain tobacco packaging. BMJ 2010;340:c2436

Wilson T. Governing in ignorance: Australian governments legislating without understanding intellectual property. Institute of Public Affairs, May 2010. [this is an hilarious document from Australia’s most prominent right wing think tank which contains the priceless calculation that the Australian government could face a bill of $3billion per year in compensation from the tobacco industry if it introduced plain packaging. This calculation is set out in Table 2. It is based on a 30% annual fall in sales including the tax component (which of course is paid by consumers not by tobacco manufacturers!). Annual falls in tobacco consumption are typically less than 1% per year – there has never been anything even remotely approaching 30% per year).

Davison M. Plain packaging of cigarettes: would it be lawful? Australian Intellectual Property Law Bulletin 2010;23(5):105–8.

Mitchell A. Australia’s move to the plain packaging of cigarettes and its WTO compatibility Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy 2010;5(2)

Wakefield M. Welcome to cardboard country: how plain packaging could change the subjective experience of smoking. Tobacco Control 2011;20(5):321-2.

Chapman S, Freeman B. From brand to bland–the demise of cigarette packaging. BMJ 2011;343:d4376.

Freeman B. Tobacco plain packaging legislation: a content analysis of commentary posted on Australian online news. Tobacco Control 2011;20(5):361-6.

Mitchell AD, Wurzberger SM. Boxed in? Australia’s plain tobacco packaging initiative and international investment law.  Arbitration International  2011;Vol27.

Voon TS, Mitchell AD. Time to quit? Assessing international investment claims against plain packaging in Australia. Journal of International Economic Law 2011; 14(2)

Carter OBJ, Mills BW, Phan T,Bremner JR. Measuring the effect of cigarette plain packaging on transaction times and selection errors in a simulation experiment. Tobacco Control 2011.

Currow D, Dessaix A. Plain packaging for tobacco products. BMJ 2011;343:d5693.

Borland R, Savvas S, Sharkie F, Moore K. The impact of structural packaging design on young adult smokers’ perceptions of tobacco products. Tobacco Control 2011

Wakefield M, Germain D, Durkin S, Hammond D, Goldberg M, Borland R. Do larger pictorial warnings diminish the need for plain packaging of cigarettes? Addiction 2012; doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03774.x

Voon T and Mitchell A, ‘Plain Packaging and International Investment Law’ in Tania Voon et al (eds), Public Health and Plain Packaging of Cigarettes: Legal Issues (Edward Elgar, 2012)


Voon T and Mitchell A, ‘Implications of WTO Law for Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products’ in Andrew Mitchell et al (eds), Public Health and Plain Packaging of Cigarettes: Legal Issues (Edward Elgar, 2012) (with Tania Voon).


‘Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products in Australia: A Novel Regulation Faces Legal Challenge’ (2012) 307(3) Journal of the American Medical Association 261–262 (with David Studdert).


Mitchell A and Voon T, Face Off: Assessing WTO Challenges to Australia’s Scheme for Plain Tobacco Packaging. (2011) 22(3) Public Law Review 218-240.


3. Anti-Plain Packs websites


1. British American Tobacco Australia  and the Twitter accounts of CEO David Crow, company spokesman Scott Macintyre and head of communications Louise Warburton.

2.  Find how much illegal tobacco is sold in your electorate  (A BAT site). Note that the data used in this site were obtained from an industry commissioned survey of just four Australian cities, with results the extrapolated to every electorate in Australia. Ie: findings from Melbourne or Sydney on illicit tobacco use are supposedly applicable to smokers in Ooodnadata, Gulargambone  and rural Tasmania.

(data on this site are based on a survey of some 900 smokers in four capital cities. No data were collected outside of those cities, yet this site provides  estimates of illicit consumption in every electorate, extrapolated from city data.)

2. Philip Morris

3. Philip Morris’ I deserve to be heard

4. Alliance of Australian Retailers

5. Institute of Public Affairs [the IPA is a right-wing “think tank”. See here for its connections with the tobacco industry

6. UK’s Hand’s Off Our Packs (industry funded)

4. Pro- Plain Packs websites

1. Action on Smoking & Health (Australia) has maintained a time line since 2009

2. Cancer Council Victoria Plain Packaging: the Facts

Collection of opinion articles on plain packaging from The Conversation

3. For major international developments in plain packaging see timeline maintained by Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada.


5. Time-Line of Selected Significant  News and Commentary on  Plain Packs post the April 2009 announcement


29 April 2010: Associated Press (then) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  announces plain packaging

Rudd K, Swan W, Roxon N. Prime Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health. Anti-Smoking Action. [Media release]. Canberra: Office of the Prime Minister, 29 April 2010

29 April 2010: ASH Action on Smoking and Health UK calls on UK Government to follow Australia’s lead

5 Mar 2010:  Chapman S. Plain packs: tobacco industry bares its butts to bluff Rudd. Crikey

29 April 2010: Freeman B, Chapman S. At last, truth in cigarette advertising. Sydney Morning Herald National Times

30 April 2010: Freeman B, Chapman S. On ciggies, Australia the world leader in public health reform. Crikey

30 April 2010: Legal experts back Canberra. The Australian.

30 April 2010: Imperial Tobacco announces it will defend its trademarks. [Media release].

3 May 2010:  Opposition leader Tony Abbott has difficulty stating likely position on plain packaging in election debate

4 May 2010: Lawyer Prof Mark Davison on the “huff & puff” from big tobacco

10 May 2010: ABC’s Media Watch examines the spin from the Institute of Public Affairs’ Tim Wilson on plain packs

11 May 2010: Release of Government’s formal response to recommendations of Preventative Health Taskforce  which specified that the intent of the legislation was to:

• increase the noticeability, recall and impact of health warning messages;

• reduce the ability of packaging to mislead consumers to believe that some products may be less harmful than others;

• reduce the attractiveness of the tobacco product, for both adults and children; and

• reduce the appeal and desirability of smoking generally.

Australian Government. Taking preventative action: Government’s response to Australia: the healthiest country by 2020. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, 2010.

26 May 2010: IPA’s Tim Wilson “lashes out” at Media Watch

26 May 2010: A videoed debate hosted by the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia  of on legal aspects of plain packs   notable for the contrasting presentations of the IPA’s Tim Wilson and Monash University law  professor Mark Davison. A must watch!!

Davison M. Banning tobacco logos: a look at the issues. Melbourne: Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia University of Melbourne, 2010.

Wilson T. The cost of plain packaging? Melbourne: Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia University of Melbourne, 2010.

29 May 2010: 7.30 Report. Tim Wilson from the IPA on the massive ($3b) compensation he says will need to be paid

3 June 2010: Chapman S.  Academic  bloodsport at Melbourne University (commentary on the Davison-Wilson debate). Crikey.

4 Aug 2010: Ten News: eve of launch of Alliance of Australian Retailers campaign (Simon Chapman)

4 Aug 2010: ABC Lateline. As above. Interview with the memorable Sheryle Moon

August 2010: An apparently fake Facebook page for Sheryle Moon is published. As at 4 Jan 2010 no one has “liked” it

11 Aug 2010: ABC Lateline: collapse of Alliance of Australian Retailers after big retailers withdraw following controversial ads.

14 Aug 2010: Health groups call on Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to halt industry’s misleading advertising campaign

29th Aug 2010: Andrew Mitchell:  Australia’s move to the plain packaging of cigarettes and its WTO compatibility Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy 2010;5(2)

10 Sept 2010: ABC Lateline reveals leaked documents about big tobacco involvement in retailer’s campaign.

12 Sept 2010: Coles and Woolworths pull out of pro-cigarette campaign

21 Oct 2010: Rachel Siewart of the Australian Greens  releases information about tobacco industry’s freedom of information requests to government Tobacco industry fight to undermine health initiatives uncovered [Media release]. Canberra: 21 October 2010.

22 Oct 2010: ABC Lateline: Institute of Public Affairs releases docs it says show plain packs will cost taxpayers $$$

Nov 2010: Philip Morris sponsored study by Jorge Padilla: The impact of plain packaging of cigarette in the UK: a simulation exercise..

17 Nov 2010: Euromonitor Don Hedley describes the “perfect storm” of legislation affecting global tobacco. Describes plain packs as a “nightmare” that will cause “the mother of all battles

20 Nov 2010: ABC radio special: The tobacco battlefield

22 Nov 2010: ABC Lateline: UK to move on plain packs?


Feb 2011: Completion and posting of report for Alliance of Australian Retailers claiming that plain packaging would increase transaction time by 45 seconds

Deloitte. Potential impact on retailers from the introduction of plain tobacco packaging. February 2011. Sydney: Alliance of Australian Retailers, 2011. 

1 March 2011: BAT releases report by Deloitte on illicit trade British American Tobacco Australia. Taxpayers lose $1 billion while criminals make millions [Media release].

Deloitte. Illicit trade of tobacco in Australia. February 2011. Sydney: Prepared for British American Tobacco Australia Limited, Philip Morris Limited and Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited, 2011. 

6 April 2011: ABC TV News, launch of pack prototypes

6 April 2011: BAT’s Scott Macintyre reaction to launch of prototypes

6 April 2011: ABC Lateline: reveals leaked documents about the Alliance of Australian Retailers & the tobacco companies.

7 April 2011: Release of exposure draft of legislation for consultation

Media release

Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 – Exposure draft: Explanatory memorandum, 2011,

7 April 2011: Australia notifies the World Trade Organization of its intention to implement plain packaging.

8 April 2011: Right wing think tank rantings

8 April 2011: Op Ed by David Hill in Sydney Morning Herald. Tobacco industry has much to fear Mike Daube congratulates government Cigarette packet proposal lauded. ABC News, (Perth)

8 April 2011: Canadian health groups praise Australian Government and urge similar action in Canada Health groups praise Australia for legislation to end package-based cigarette promotion.

17 April 2011: IPA’s Chris Berg oppositional piece

20 April 2011: Former tobacco exec Craig Seitam “Plain packaging will hit sales hard, and big tobacco is worried”

29 April 2011: Al Jazeera coverage (Paul Grogan, Cancer Council; Scott Macintyre BAT)

May 2011: The Original Faux Pas dedicate “Leader of the pack” to Nicola Roxon

2 May 2011: Chapman, S. Ignore big tobacco’s absurd fight against plain packs. New Scientist

4 May 2011: British American Tobacco UK releases New Deloitte report reveals that packaging laws have not directly reduced smoking [Media release]

Deloitte. Tobacco packaging regulation: an international assessment of the intended and unintended consequences. London: 2011.

11 May 2011: Advertiser Leo Bajzert, with tobacco account, writes. Many incendiary responses.

12 May 2011: BAT UK video drama on black market tobacco

17 May 2011: Chapman S. Tobacco lobby’s plain-pack threat not based on reality. Crikey,

17 May 2011: Abbott cold on plain packs

17 May 2011: ABC News on BAT press conference announcing its opposition (David Crow, BAT; Anne Jones, Ian Olver, Nicola Roxon, Tony Abbott) also Lateline report

17 May 2011: BAT campaign launch, with David Crow explaining his kids don’t smoke. (Tony Abbott, Greens, Fiona Sharkie) . Plus media release

20 May 2011: Jessica Irvine: It’s plain to see what’s behind the smokescreen on plain packs

20 May 2011: BAT boss tells his kids not to smoke

21 May 2011: Opposition backbencher Dr Mal Washer says of Opposition concerns “I support these reforms unequivocally and whatever my party decides to do, I don’t give a shit”

23 May 2011: Review of the evidence by Cancer Council Victoria

24 May 2011: Freeman B, Chapman S. The evidence is in – plain cigarette packs turn young smokers off, The Conversation,

24 May 2011: Cancer Council of Victoria, counter advertising (industry boss spoof)

25 May 2011: Minister for Health berates Opposition for accepting political donations and failing to support proposal for plain packaging.

Roxon N. Official Hansard.  Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Debates. Wednesday 25 May, Forty-third Parliament, First session–Winter period. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2011.

25 May 2011: Some opposition politicians indicate they will vote with government

26 May 2011: Lateline: Big tobacco takes fight o’seas: evidence that a former US ambassador to the World Trade Organisation has been lobbying Malaysia to oppose the Australian Government’s proposal.

27 May 2011: Michelle Grattan op ed… ‘Leadership lacking as Libs squabble over smoking: Abbott should put politics aside and do what he can to help stop a killer habit.’  The Age.

28 May 2011: Four people debate plain packs.

 29 May 2011: Former tobacco company executive Craig Seitam explains why plain packs are a big blow to the industry

29 May 2011: Release of results of research shows plain packaging of cigarettes is supported by the majority of Australians, despite the tobacco industry’s continued attempts to undermine the groundbreaking health initiative.

30 May 2011: Chapman S. BATs ad campaign against plain packs: pull the other leg. Crikey

30 May 2011: Ross Gittins “poor little stupid nation” argument (brilliant!!)

31 May 2011: Opposition announces it will not oppose plain packs

31 May 2011: (as above) Ten News

June 2011: Australian Alliance of Retailers release report by Deloitte consulting firm claiming that 34% of customers will turn away from small retailers

Deloitte. Plain packaging and channel shift. June. Sydney: Alliance of Australian Retailers, 2011. 

6 June 2011: Over 250 submissions received by government on plain packaging legislation

14 June 2011: Tobacco labeling – two views, Simon Chapman and lawyer Ainslie Van Onselen speaking at the conservative think tank, The Sydney Institute

By 8 July 2011: Government uploads 56 submissions received on draft legislation during its consultation about the Bill(s).   including

British American Tobacco Australia. Submission on the Plain Packaging Bill 2011. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing Consultation website, 2011.

Philip Morris Limited. Commoditising tobacco products through plain packaging will harm public health, violate treaties and does not meet the test of ‘evidence-based policy’. Submission on the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill Exposure Draft. Melbourne: 2011.

Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited. Submission on the exposure draft of tobacco plain packaging bill and House Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry.  2011.

Alliance of Australian Retailers. Submission on the exposure draft of tobacco plain packaging bill and House Standing Committee on Health and Ageing Inquiry.  2011. 

7 June 2011: Dominican Republic raises concerns about legislation at World Trade Organization (TRIPS)  council meeting. Support or sympathy for the Dominican Republic came from Honduras, Nicaragua, Ukraine, the Philippines, Zambia, Mexico, Cuba and Ecuador. New Zealand, Uruguay and Norway said Australia’s draft law is justified. India did not comment on the law specifically but said studies show that plain packaging does reduce smoking. India, Brazil and Cuba stressed their view that countries have the right to implement public health policies without intellectual property being an obstacle — referring directly or indirectly to the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

7 June 2011: Lawyer Prof George Williams on why legal challenge will probably fail

9 June 2011: Chapman S. Factoids and legal bollocks in war against plain packaging. Crikey

14 June 2011: US Coalition the “Emergency Committee for American Trade” on why they oppose plain packs (Dr Cal Cohen) ABC TV

27 June 2011: Philip Morris Asia serves a notice of claim under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong

27 June 2011: Radio interview by Neil Mitchell (3AW) with Anne Edwards of Philip Morris where she says she wouldn’t deny for a second that smoking is harmful and addictive (and later on again no doubt that smoking is harmful and kills), but with wonderful, compassionate bathos “it’s very, very sad that people do get sick from smoking”

28 June 2011: David Campbell’s superb satire  ‘Crumbs!’ cried Little Tobacco as Nanny State bit into its gingerbread house.

6 July 2011: Bill introduced into House of Representatives, read and second reading moved

7 July 2011: House of Representatives refers Bill to Standing Committee on Health and Ageing

11 July 2011: Big tobacco recruiting retailers to call politicians.

18 July 2011: Mia Freedman – in praise of nannies

22July 2011: Submissions close for House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing – Inquiry into Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011

4 Aug 2011: Hearings of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing  

 4 Aug2011: Cancer Council Victoria updates evidence review and uploads review of Deloitte report on illicit trade

4 Aug 2011: Opposition spokesman on primary health care, whining about process of hearings.

5 August 2011:BAT warns illegal cigarettes will flood the market because they will be unable to meet deadline

9 Aug 2011: ABC Law Report on Canberra vs Big Tobacco

18 Aug 2011: Senate refers bill to Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee  which calls for submissions (by 2nd September)

22 Aug 2011: House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Aged Care tables the report on its inquiry into Plain Packaging

24 Aug 2011: 260 health and medical professors back the legislation

24 Aug 2011: Second reading debate, third reading agreed to Passage of legislation through House of Representatives

25 Aug  2011: Bill introduced and read a first time in Senate, then second reading moved

31 Aug  2011: Nicola Roxon speech to Nossal Institute

2 Sept 2011: news breaks that Philip Morris using FOI laws to acquire information from researchers in the UK.

2 Sep 2011: Submissions received by Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

13 Sept 2011: Hearings of the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

17 Sept 2011: Release of new graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

19 Sept 2011: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee provides report to Senate  

19  Sept 2011: Nicola Roxon’s statement to the UN General Assembly NCDs High-Level Meeting

20 Sept 2011: radio documentary on plain packs; station unknown (Simon Chapman)

21 Sept 2011: The Australian Government announces that it will provide an additional $700,000 to the World Health Organization to increase the global fight against tobacco smoking.

September 2011: Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill 2011,

26 Sept 2011: World health Ministers congratulate Roxon at United Nations meeting in New York

27 Sept 2011: Gruen Transfer advertising panel discussion on plain packs

11 Oct 2011: Second reading debate in Senate commences

2 Oct 2011: Senate stalls debate

14 Oct 2011: BAT threatens to suspend supply of cigarettes if Australian implementation date not changed.

18 Oct 2011: Minister gives opening address to Oceania Tobacco Control conference

19 Oct 2011: 30 minute ABC radio documentary on history of tobacco legislation in Australia, including plain packaging

2 Nov 2011:  Nicola Roxon, announces that the implementation of plain packaging will be delayed until December 1, 2012 as a result of delays in the Senate review of the bill

9 and 10 November 2011: Second reading debate continues and Second reading agreed to, Third reading agreed to

10 Nov 2011: Lengthy interview with Simon Chapman, BAT spokesman Scott Macintyre & health Minister Nicola Roxon on plain packs Radio JJJ Sydney BAT confirms it will commence proceedings in High Court.

10 Nov 2011: Legislation enters Senate ABC Lateline (Nicola Roxon. Eric Abetz, Scott Macintyre BAT)

Nov 2011: Senator Richard di Natale (Greens) speech to the Senate


15-18 Nov 2011: TabExpo meeting in Prague is addressed by industry consultant John Luik, on “When packages can’t speak” (“In the plain packaging session, experts from inside and outside the tobacco industry will examine the threat of plain packaging, its implications. We have also asked two brand consultants to examine the options for branding if generic packaging becomes a reality.”

21 Nov 2011: Final passage of amended Bill through House of Representatives

House of Representatives. Vote on Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill and Trademarks Amendment Bill as amended by the Senate. Official Hansard No 18, Monday 21st November, Forty-third Parliament, First session–Fourth period 2011:12913.

21 Nov 2011: Philip Morris Asia Limited (PMA), Hong Kong, owner of Australian affiliate,

Philip Morris Limited (PML), announces that it has begun legal proceedings against the

Australian Government by serving a Notice of Arbitration under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.

See related documents: Attorney-General’s Department. Investor-State Arbitration – Tobacco Plain Packaging. Canberra: Australian Government, 2011

24 Nov 2011:. Chapman S. The world is no longer Big Tobacco’s ashtray. ABC-Unleashed

28 Nov 2011: Signing into law by Governor General  of  Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011

1 Dec 2011: Tobacco companies told that they have a full twelve months to prepare to comply with legislation

1 Dec 2011: British American Tobacco initiates proceedings in Australia’s High Court to test the validity of the law as it relates to property rights of two brands, Winfield and Dunhill.  Press release

Imperial Tobacco similarly initiates proceedings.

15 Dec 2011: Japan Tobacco files a Writ of Summons against the Australian Government alleging that the plain packaging law infringes its trademark rights

15 Dec 2011: Health Minister Nicola Roxon named Attorney-General in Cabinet reshuffle, vows to continue fight for plain packaging

20 Dec 2011: Philip Morris Australia files a Writ of Summons in the High Court against the Australian Government alleging that the plain packaging law infringes its trademark and property rights ;

21 Dec 2011: ANU e-Press  releases special edition on health economics including article by Philip Morris consultant Mark Harrison criticizing work of Preventative Health Taskforce, covered in articles in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 22nd December.

22 Dec 2011: Roxon accuses Philip Morris of corporate restructuring trick to assist its case

22 Dec 2011: Release of new Information standard specifying enlarged graphic health warnings for tobacco products Competition and Consumer (Tobacco) Information Standard 2011

22 Dec 2011: Government releases all research it commissioned into plain packaging and the new health warnings. (major source)


10-11 Jan 2012: WHO hosts world’s first technical meeting on plain packaging in Brunei Durassalem, focused on lessons from Australia’s efforts for other nations. Attended by delegates from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, China, Cambodia, Egypt, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam.

16 Jan 2012: UK’s Smoke Free South West (Bristol) holds information day on plain packaging, with opening speech by Simon Chapman. Launches campaign.  Parliamentary head of joint party committee on tobacco Stephen Williams publishes supportive blog which is attacked by trolls from Freedom2Choose pro-smoking group

17 Jan 2012: UK’s Action on Smoking & Health hosts national seminar on plain packs at Royal College of Physicians, addressed by Simon Chapman.

20 Jan 2012: Prof Mark Davison (Monash University) writes on Philip Morris’  “own goal” major blunder in its Hong Kong bilateral trade case against plain packaging.

15 Feb 2012: Australian Secretary of Health Jane Halton, details the extent of Freedom of Information requests made by big tobacco and the massive costs involved. See pages  121-22.

21 Feb 2012: Shrill libertarian UK pro-smoker Christopher Snowdon publishes clichéd, error-ridden and commentary on plain packs for tobacco industry funded Adam Smith Institute.

11 March 2012: London Economics consultancy publishes “The role of packaging imagery on consumer preferences for experience goods: A consumer behavioural experiment” funded by Philip Morris. Suggests that “packaging imagery is a source of information that helps consumers differentiate between alternative product characteristics”.  What can they have been thinking of? Full report here

12 April 2012: Brendan Nelson, High Commissioner to European parliament, speaks on plain packaging.

13 April 2012:  UK tobacco stocks hit by concern about plain packs

13 April 2012: major portrait of Attorney General Nicola Roxon (The Age)

14 April 2012: UK health secretary Lansley says Australia has inspired UK to consider plain packs

14 April 2012: Japan Tobacco International says that Australian government will “benefit” if fewer people die from tobacco after plain packs.  This argument central to building a case about whether “acquisition”  of brands “benefits” others.

16 April 2012: UK government opens public consultation on plain packs, including large review of evidence; impact assessment; and equality impact assessment

17 April 2012: High Court case opens in Canberra.

17 April 2012: Emma Connors: Tobacco case plain but not simple. Australian Financial Review

[1] First found mention of idea of plain packaging  …. June 1986:  Canadian Medical Association annual general meeting supports motion of Dr. Gerry Karr in favour of plain packaging.  … timeline of further international developments at

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2 Responses to The University of Sydney and the history of plain packaging for cigarette packets

  1. Whew! Quite a bit of research there! Thanks Dave!!! It’s always nice when the Antismokers help out like this, isn’t it?

    I’ve been posting some notes about how well they’ve done with their Tobacco Tactics site! All that research and effort by folks with ENORMOUS amounts of resources — and they simply end up affirming that none of the Brit groups or bloggers other than FOREST have any real Big Tobacco ties! We could have spent millions (heh, if we HAD millions!) trying to publicize that, and a lot of folks STILL wouldn’t have believed us.

    But now, we have it from the words of “the enemy” themselves!

    If we ever find out who was actually behind that brainchild I think y’all should send them roses!


  2. Congratulations for making the Tobacco Tactics Naughty List!

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