Global Milestone for public health as Australia wins WTO case on tobacco plain packaging

In a statement released last 29 June, SEATCA applauded the historic World Trade Organization (WTO) decision upholding Australia’s plain packaging law as being consistent with international trade and intellectual property laws.

According to SEATCA Executive Director Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee this ruling for Australia is an important precedent and encourages other countries, especially low- and middle-income countries in the ASEAN, that are planning to implement plain packaging.   Evidence shows that plain packaging works to reduce tobacco use by diminishing the attractiveness of tobacco products and eliminating the use of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion. Currently, all ten ASEAN countries have pictorial health warnings (PHWs) on tobacco products. Plain packaging is the next logical step in protecting public health.