Attack on Australia: tobacco industry challenges to plain packaging

J Public Health Policy. 2013 Aug;34(3):375-87. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2013.18. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


In 2011, the Australian Government passed landmark legislation requiring tobacco manufacturers to adopt 'plain packaging', a government-mandated design standardized across all brands of tobacco products. In response, plain packaging policy in Australia has faced multiple, simultaneous challenges from a global, well-resourced industry able to use all available fora to seek redress. Generalizing from the Australian experience, we analyze four types of challenges to plain packaging from the tobacco industry. We characterize three ways in which industry questions public health policies through international trade and investment law, on: (i) the intent or purpose of the policy; (ii) the economic consequences of it; and (iii) the regulatory authority behind it. We make recommendations and suggest that public health policymakers can know with some precision what attacks will be launched on tobacco control policies, and prepare their strategies and legislation accordingly.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Internationality
  • Lobbying
  • Product Packaging / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Product Packaging / standards*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*