Main provisions of the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill 2013 set out requirements to restrict the appearance of tobacco products and packages. The Bill provides for regulations to be made under the new section 31A.(1) In brief, the section set out broad criteria for future regulations for tobacco plain packaging.
Section 31A Standardised packaging of tobacco products
“(1) A tobacco product –
“(a) must comply with regulations under this Part; and
“(b) if sold or offered for sale,—
“(i) must be contained in a package; and
“(ii) must be packaged in a quantity that complies with regulations under this Part.
“(2) The package for a tobacco product—
“(a) must comply with section32 (1) (which relates to messages and information); and
“(b) other than part of the package that is wrapping or lining may display the brand or company name for the product, but only in accordance with regulations under this Part; and
“(c) must comply with regulations under this Part in all other respects.”
In August 2014, the Health Select Committee completed its deliberation on the Bill, with the Committee report published on Parliament website on 6 August 2014. Following the Committee stage; the Bill will go through Second Reading and the date will be set by the newly appointed Health Minister after the General Election in September 2014.
The Health Committee supports the passage of the Bill, with only one vote opposing the policy regime. There are no major alterations to the clause of the Bill and suggestions of the Committee are mainly literal one. Key recommendations include (2):
“Tobacco Standardised Packaging”
The Select Committee has recommended that the title of the Bill be changed by substituting the term “Tobacco Standardised Packaging” for the term “Tobacco Plain Packaging”
Restrictions on sale of certain tobacco products in small quantities
The Select Committee has recommended retaining the principal Act to restrict the minimum quantities in which tobacco products may be sold.
Australia: Emergent product developments after implementation of plain packaging
At the stage of regulation-making, it is important to consider the latest product developments in Australia after the implementation of plain packaging. (3) Some relevant examples are summarised as followed:
SHIFT TO PROMOTION THROUGH GREATER ATTENTION TO THE NAMES OF BRANDS, BRAND EXTENSIONS AND VARIANTS
Changes in brand names
There were changes in variant names with lengthen descriptors that ‘evoke the sensation or feature’ previously connoted by that color, e.g., Pall Mall Amber became Pall Mall Smooth; Peter Stuyvesant New York Blend and Marlboro Silver Fine Scent.
RENEWED EMPASIS ON VALUE FOR MONEY
INTRODUCTION OF NOVEL CIGARETTE TYPES
Introducing novel cigarette types are an international trend made by tobacco companies. This trending is supported by the annual reports of the tobacco companies. Products innovation includes:
The UK Government has just completed its consultation on the introduction of regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products.(4) The drafted regulations restrict the packaging of tobacco products to a specified standard colours, both externally and internally; permit a specified text in a standard typeface; and also restrict the layouts of individual cigarettes to appear as white with a cork effect/white tip with text indicating the brand name (also in a specified typeface and location).
Apart from the new regulations, the United Kingdom is also consulting on its intention to transpose the new European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) into UK law by 20 May 2016. Certain new requirements of the TPD are applicable to standardised packaging and labelling and some of which have already been included in the current drafted regulations. The relevant TPD requirements include:
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