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January 18, 2012

Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products in Australia: A Novel Regulation Faces Legal Challenge

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

JAMA. 2012;307(3):261-262. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.2009

There are global concerns that tobacco branding and packaging have a powerful role as “silent salesmen.”1 Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, have considered but not pursued regulation to restrict branding and other embellishments on tobacco products. The inevitability of a protracted and expensive legal battle with the tobacco industry, and the possibility that regulation in this area may not survive legal challenge, have chilled interest. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed placing stronger warnings and graphic images about tobacco-related diseases on cigarette packages, although several major tobacco companies have filed a lawsuit against the FDA alleging that mandatory placement of such warning labels is a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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