Australia's tobacco marketing laws give retailers a headache

Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:53pm EST
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* Tough Australian anti-smoking laws come into force Dec. 1

* Plain packs, graphic pictures replace logos, bright colours

* Online, social media final frontier for tobacco companies

* Australian laws, eyed by other countries, face WTO challenges

By Jane Wardell

SYDNEY, Nov 30 (Reuters) - James Yu, who runs the King of the Pack tobacconist in central Sydney, is indignant about Australia's stringent anti-tobacco laws making manufacuters package cigarettes in drab olive green packs with pictures of ill babies and diseased body parts.

The packages, mandatory from Saturday when the laws take effect, make it hard to tell brands apart, complicating deliveries and adding to costs in his cramped, dark booth.

The legislation, the most Draconian in the world, strips packs of all branding, bright colours and logos, leaving only the name printed in identical small font.

"It used to take me an hour to unload a delivery, now it takes me four hours," Yu said, demonstrating how difficult it is to find the brand names.   Continued...