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Australia takes on tobacco giants over packaging

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"British American Tobacco Australia Ltd, the Australian market leader known by the acronym BATA, has warned it might slash prices to compete against the illegal product—a move that could encourage more Australians to smoke. With high taxes aimed at dissuading smokers, a pack of 25 cigarettes retails in Australia for about A$16."

So they are flat out declaring that out of spite they might intentionally cause harm to the nation. If they cut prices, the government should increase tobacco taxes 10 fold until the companies are forced to drop it and comply. These companies pedal a product that harms not only those who smoke, but those around them. Of course there are other products that do the same thing, and those should be further regulated as well, but since we are talking about tobacco, screw the companies -- they don't control the law, and they need to know that.

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smithinjapan:"So they are flat out declaring that out of spite they might intentionally cause harm to the nation."

No, they are not acting out of spite. They have stated that they will slash prices in order to compete in a marketplace the government tells its citizens is free but which looks like it has become increasingly controlled and interfered with by the usual far left authoritarians and central planners. And I would say BATA are right. The unintended results of the government's interference would most likely mean the country sees a flood of cheap counterfeits - far,far more likely to increase smoking and incidence of the very health concerns they tell the public they seek to protect them from.

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“The sort of proof they are looking for doesn’t exist when this hasn’t been introduced around the world,” she said last week.

Exactly.

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"Uniform packaging would be easy to counterfeit and lead to a flood of illegal Asian tobacco"

Chinese tobacco?

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So they are flat out declaring that out of spite they might intentionally cause harm to the nation. If they cut prices, the government should increase tobacco taxes 10 fold until the companies are forced to drop it and comply.

At which point the market becomes flooded with tax free smokes courtesy of their fellow Pacific friends and neighbors. Thus begins another cycle of government fruitlessly attempting to control what free thinking adults wish to do to their own bodies with their own money. They made a simple, correct point, that the generic packaging will make it easier for illegal knockoffs to enter the market and that the companies would need to drop prices to keep customers.

Governments like to tax 'sin' items not because they want people to stop but because they are an inelastic good that people will keep buying even with the taxes. Just a poor tax in most cases.

Chinese tobacco?

Well not just Chinese. There's a lot in Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It’s dirt cheap to grow there and there's a lot of it. Soil composition is horrible though, makes terrible cigars, but then most tobacco smokers don't really care about the taste, a shame.

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Just a question ... so if they need to "slash" prices to compete, as I guess these black market cigarettes must be very cheap, that these tobacco giants have been charging grossly inflated prices for their procucts?

If I remember correctly and it has been a long time since I`ve smoked in Australia that prices even back then, with tax included, were around $10/pack. From this I can only imagine (imagine mind you, not based on any hard facts) that if they can take the tax hit, their product must be overpriced in the first place.

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Make a law that bans packaging all together, or clear plastic packs.

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“It’s removing a very important part of modern marketing, which is the brand itself, and these days, that’s worth billions of dollars,” Hughes said. “It’s like taking the Golden Arches away from McDonald’s—it removes equity from a company’s balance sheet overnight.”

I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who might suffer loss of brand value if the value of the brand is based on getting people addicted to a harmful form of drug taking.

... what free thinking adults wish to do to their own bodies ...

Yet again, the smokers' fallacy. It's not (only) about what they do to their own bodies but also about what they do to others who breathe the polluted air in the smokers' vicinity. (I suspect the idea of doing it with their own money is also a fallacy but I don't have any figures from neutral sources about medical costs attributable to smoking.)

... most tobacco smokers don't really care about the taste ...

Indeed. The addictive drug that comes with it enables smokers to tolerate the revolting tase.

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The government wants to replace the distinctive colors of various brands with a uniformly drab, olive green packet for all under legislation to be introduced to Parliament in July. Brand names would appear on the front in print dwarfed by health warnings and often gruesome, full-color images of the consequences of smoking, such as mouth cancer and gangrenous toes.

Isn't this going just a little too far?

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Yet again, the smokers' fallacy. It's not (only) about what they do to their own bodies but also about what they do to others who breathe the polluted air in the smokers' vicinity.

Hay, I already can't smoke indoors so if you're getting close enough to breath in my smoke that’s on you. Both in Detroit and Japan I see a lot of overhangs and/or enclosures for smokers a short distance away from the better places to eat to accommodate their smoking patrons. Though I only smoke a few times a month so I've never been in one.

The addictive drug that comes with it enables smokers to tolerate the revolting tase.

Depends on the brand (thus the importance of packaging). Like I said earlier, the Southeast Asian tobacco is from terrible soil. Though cigarettes have never really been my thing. Cigars though, when done properly it's really more of an art form. Growing and curing and aging and rolling, sometimes accented with a good bourbon whiskey, magnificent.

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This is stupid, the packets already have these pictures on them and have for a long time. Taking the coloured labels off the packaging will achieve nothing. It is another example of the invasive Aussie government trying to control everything people do. Who cares if people smoke, really? Australia already has laws regarding no smoking in buildings, some outdoor areas even in cars if there are kids in the car. The government collects enormous taxes from smokers, funny enough they will not declare exactly how much. Surely this covers most of the medical bills if smokers get sick. Furthermore Australians earning over a certain amount need to pay for private health insurance. So again what is the big deal if people smoke. Imagine if every Australian gave up smoking tomorrow the amount of money the government would lose due to the loss of taxes. Just another way for the pathetic all intrusive government to control things IMO.

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Like most progrissives I believe we need to round up smokers and have em re-educated, in camps if necessary.

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