Aussie Tobacco Ruling 1st Domino In
Potential Global Cascade
Law360, New York (August 15, 2012,
8:59 PM ET) --
The High Court of
Australia's decision to uphold the country's revolutionary
plain packaging law will help spur the U.K. and other
countries to implement similar measures for tobacco
products, experts predict. [excerpts]
The U.K. and New Zealand are both considering plain packaging
requirements. New Zealand's government has already agreed in
principle to institute plain packaging, pending a public comment
period, while the U.K. Department of Health has said it is keeping
an "open mind" about the practice. A public comment period about
the effectiveness of the approach in the U.K. closed Friday.
Plain packaging has also garnered consideration from the European
Union, Belgium, France and Canada.
At minimum, the Australian high court's ruling will encourage
anti-tobacco advocates in those countries and others to strengthen
their push for plain packaging, experts told Law360. But given the
speed at which tobacco policies typically are adopted around the
world once they have proved resilient in one country, the ruling
could signal the beginning of a global cascade, they said.
Australia's place on the world stage could also increase the odds
that plain packaging will catch on elsewhere, according to George
Washington University law professor John Banzhaf.
"Once a challenge like this is defeated in at least one of the
English-speaking countries ... it creates somewhat of a precedent
and puts momentum behind the idea," Banzhaf said.
Banzhaf said the tobacco industry is increasingly turning to
challenges under treaties in order to stymie regulation, but he
doubted the tactic would succeed against the Australian law.
"I think they are mostly distractions and won't go anywhere,"
"The impact, I think, will be tremendous," Banzhaf said. [FROM