Australian Court Orders Plain Packaging for Cigarettes

September 17, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. mandate (v.)
[man-deyt] –to require; to order someone to follow or do something
Example: The law mandates everyone to pay taxes.

2. distinct (adj.) [dih-stingkt– having a quality that is clearly different from others
Example: The model’s face can be easily recognized because of her distinct features.

3. implement (v.) [im-pluh-ment, -muhnt] – to start using or following something
Example The website will implement big changes to its design next month.

4. warning (n.) [wawr-ning] – something that informs someone of danger
Example: Today’s flights were cancelled because of a storm warning.

5. forge (v.) [fawrj, fohrj] – to create or to copy something illegally
Example: The company fired the employee who forged his employer’s signature.

Read the text below.

The highest court in Australia has defended a law that mandates cigarette companies to remove all distinct colors and logos from the packs.

The law, which will be implemented starting December 1, 2012, says that cigarettes must be sold only in olive green packs with printed warnings and images showing the health dangers of smoking.

Australian authorities say that with this law, the number of smokers in the country will be reduced.

However, leading global tobacco manufacturers such as British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris are not in favor of the law.

Tobacco companies say that removing their logos and trademarks will largely affect their profits.

The companies also argue that removing their brand images is a violation of their intellectual property rights. As owners of the logos, only companies have the right to remove them on the packs.

Additionally, it would be easier for fake product makers to forge the packaging design mandated by law. Fake products could quickly enter the market once the law is implemented.

But despite being against the new rule, BAT says the companies will do their best to follow the law.

Australia’s new law can be a threat to the cigarette industry worldwide especially if the countries with major cigarette markets decide to follow. According to experts, Australia’s move may encourage other countries such as New Zealand, India and UK that are already thinking of introducing similar laws to reduce the number of smokers.  

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think the new law could really reduce the number of smokers? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are other ways to prevent people from smoking?

Discussion B

·         Why is a product packaging important?
·         Can a product still be successful even if its packaging looks the same as those of competing products? Why or why not?

September 17, 2012