Australia Starts Using Plain Packaging for All Cigarettes

January 7, 2013

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

1. plain (adj.) 
[pleyn]– simple; contains little or no design
Example:   For formal occasions, plain shirts look better than printed ones.  

2. graphic (adj.) [graf-ik]– shown through pictures or words
ExampleGraphic images of lung cancer show the bad effects of smoking.

3. intellectual property rights (n.) [in-tl-ek-choo-uhl] [prop-er-tee] [rahyts]– the right to prevent the unauthorized use of one’s original creation
Example: Copying a product’s packaging violates intellectual property rights.

4. appealing (adj.) [uh-pee-ling]– attractive or inviting
ExampleAppealing advertisement may increase sales.

5. exaggerated (adj.) [ig-zaj-uh-rey-tid]– greater than the normal
Example: Reports that show some health benefits of smoking seem exaggerated.

Read the text below.

Australia has started selling all cigarettes in plain packaging, following a law that became effective last December 1st.

The new law states that cigarettes must be sold in olive-brown packets with graphic health warnings of the possible effects of cigarette smoking. These warnings include images of people with skin disease and mouth cancer.

The law faced legal challenges from tobacco companies before it was approved. The companies argued that the law goes against their intellectual property rights, since the law does not allow brand logos and trademarks on the packaging. Australia’s High Court, however, rejected the companies’ arguments.

Although their packaging is new, the cigarettes are still the same. Some consumers have said the cigarettes now taste different, which may be a psychological effect caused by the new packaging.

Fiona Sharkie of anti-smoking organization Quit Victoria reported several people have also decided to quit smoking because of the new packaging.

Health officials say the law’s goal is to make smoking less appealing to people, especially to teenagers. The government is aiming to reduce the number of smokers to only 10% of the population by 2018.

The creation of the law was also encouraged by research from anti-smoking organizations, such as the Cancer Council of Victoria. Of the 4,200 smokers surveyed by the Council from 2003 to 2011, 25% believed health effects of smoking were exaggerated, while 10% did not believe or were unsure whether smoking could really cause illnesses.

According to statistics, smoking is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, killing around 15,000 people per year.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think this law can really stop people from smoking? Why or why not?
·         What else can be done to prevent people from smoking?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how important is the packaging of a product?
·         Do you agree that a change in packaging can  change the way we think or feel about a product? Why or why not?


January 7, 2013