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Australia Senate passes law banning cigarette brand labels

The Australian Senate [official website] on Thursday passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 [text, PDF; materials] which requires that cigarettes be sold in generic olive green packages, without brands or logos. The packages will also have warnings of the potential health risks of smoking. Australia is the first country in the world [BBC report] to pass a law such as this. The bill will now go to the lower house of parliament where it is expected to be passed. Tobacco companies have announced that they plan to challenge the law.

Tobacco packaging is at issue in the US as well. Earlier this week a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] granted a temporary injunction to block the implementation [JURIST report] of new requirements of graphic image and textual warning labels imposed by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA) [HR 1256 text]. In 2009, US President Barack Obama [official website] signed the FSPTCA into law [JURIST report], granting the FDA certain authority to regulate tobacco products. The legislation heightens warning-label requirements, prohibits marketing "light cigarettes" as a healthier alternative and allows for the regulation of cigarette ingredients.

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