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Plain packaging of cigarettes is a good policy and should be retained in Australia - Essay Example

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Australian governments resolution to enact plain tobacco packaging legislation remains a controversial topic. Critics and proponents of the legislation both highlight its drawbacks and justification…
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Plain packaging of cigarettes is a good policy and should be retained in Australia
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Plain Packaging of Cigarette in Australia Plain Packaging of Cigarette in Australia In December The Tobacco Plain Act came into effect in Australia. Australian governments resolution to enact plain tobacco packaging legislation remains a controversial topic. Critics and proponents of the legislation both highlight its drawbacks and justification respectively. There have been researches on both positive and negative effects of the plain tobacco packaging law in Australia. Besides, there are technical analyses of facts for and against the legislation. Although critics of the law highlight its health implications, proponents of its enactment and implementation present justified viewpoints that warrant considerations.
Proponents of the laws enactment argue that it will restrict the use of colors, brand imagery, logos, and promotional texts. Inclusions in the product create the effect of its appeal to consumers. The government uses the legislation to make the product less appealing especially to the young (Australian Government, Common Law 2011). As a result, plain cigarette packaging is an initiative to reduce cigarette consumption. The government expresses concerns of citizens health and discourages commodities, such as tobacco.
Product homogeneity is very instrumental in standardizing competition. Tobacco manufacturers use packaging to differentiate their products and make it attractive than others. The government intends discourage unfair competition that might affect the performance of small industries. Plain cigarette packaging comes along with product homogeneity that standardizes commodities. When packaging of cigarettes appeal in the same way to consumers, they will not reestablish brand loyalty (Davey, 2014). Therefore, the legislation eliminates unfair competition caused by well-established industries to small ones.
Consumers tend to buy a product not because they are in need of it, but the packaging persuades them to acquire. Consequently, packaging causes impulse buying as consumers purchase products without an active decision-making process. The legislation on plain cigarette packaging achieves to encourage cigarette consumers to go through a proper decision-making process before deciding to buy the product (Walsh et al., 2008). Plain packaging standardizes the product and makes it consumers buy it only to satisfy their needs must not because of its appeal.
The government imposition of plain cigarette packaging undermines trademark law. It also breaches intellectual property rights as well as international trade arguments. Trademark serves the purpose of distinguishing products and making sound decisions. It allows consumers to differentiate products and make judgments on brands of preference. The tobacco industry argues that trademarks in packaging are significant to producers, consumers, and the entire economy. Governments have the obligation to comply with international trade agreements (Department of Health and Ageing, 2011). The use of plain packaging limits the movement of the product between countries hence discouraging foreign trade.
Since the enactment of the legislation in 2012, cigarette consumption in Australia has tumbled significantly. The government used the act to control tobacco industry in Australia. It encourages constructive decision-making as opposed to impulse buying. The government uses the legislation to reduce the consumption of cigarette by eliminating product appeal. It also reduces unfair competition that big industries cause to their upcoming counterparts. However, the legislation breaches international agreements of the use of trademarks.
References
Australian Government (Common Law). (December 1, 2011). Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011- C2011A00148. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011A00148/Html/Text#_Toc309642352
Australian Government (Department of Health and Ageing) (2014). Introduction of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-plain
Davey, M. (August 28, 2014). Cigarette Plain Packaging Fear Campaign Unfounded, Victoria Study Finds. The Guardian. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/28/cigarette-plain-packaging-fear-campaign-unfounded-victoria-study-finds
Walsh, R. A., Paul, C. L., Tzelepis, F., Stojanovski, E., & Tang, A. (2008). Is government action out-of-step with public opinion on tobacco control? Results of a New South Wales population survey. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 32(5), 482–488. doi:10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00284.x Read More
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