Public Health and Plain Packaging of Cigarettes

Public Health and Plain Packaging of Cigarettes

Legal Issues

Edited by Tania Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell, Jonathan Liberman and Glyn Ayres

The book offers an in-depth exploration of relevant domestic and international legal questions in fields such as intellectual property, constitutional law, health, trade and investment. The authors’ analysis sheds light on broader questions relating to the capacity of governments to regulate tobacco products and the tobacco industry, and to regulate in the interests of public health more generally. The answers to these questions are of vital interest not only to Australia but also to the international community, with states’ regulatory sovereignty increasingly being challenged in local and international courts and tribunals.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Tania Voon

Subjects: law - academic, health law, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, international investment law, public international law


Tania Voon Plain packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products represents a crucial focal point for industry, government, and public health across the world today. Tobacco poses a serious and widespread threat to health in developed and developing countries alike, and the question of how best to deal with that threat in the face of millions of addicted individuals and a long-entrenched industry raises a host of legal issues. This volume offers a detailed exploration of some of these issues from a number of perspectives, providing a rich case study not only of the challenges of tobacco control regulation but also of health regulation more generally. Plain packaging – whereby a government requires tobacco products to be sold in packets of a specified colour and without graphic logos – constitutes a particularly pertinent case for investigation, especially in the light of the groundbreaking WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control1 (‘WHO FCTC’). Tobacco use is one of the key risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases (‘NCDs’) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes (other common risk factors being alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity). NCDs cause 60 per cent of all deaths in the world, with 80 per cent of deaths due to NCDs occurring in low- and middle-income countries.2 The World Health Organization (‘WHO’) and other United Nations (‘UN’) bodies are increasingly recognising NCDs as a problem requiring urgent attention. The international community more broadly recognised the serious and growing global impact of NCDs at the 2011 High-Level...