The fight to retain branding on cigarette packages goes before seven High Court judges in Canberra on 17 April. It is being labeled as a test case with other countries looking on.
Some of the world’s biggest brands, including British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) and Philip Morris will argue the legislation passed in November hands their trademarks over to the Government.
Under the law passed in November all cigarette packets would have to be green with standard fonts for the brand and type of cigarettes, and dominated by health warnings and images.
It is being labeled as a test case with other countries including the UK and New Zealand looking to follow suit if the government’s decision is upheld.
Campaigners say the move would make them less attractive to children and eventually bring down smoking and cancer rates.
The tobacco firms claim the “billions” will be lost in taxes as the market will be “flooded” with counterfeit products if the law is upheld, bringing down tobacco prices further.
When legislation passed BATA’s regional communications manager Scott McIntyre told B&T the legislation would also force down prices as a way for the three major players in the market to compete for custom.
He added: “We can’t advertise, so the branding is the only way of differentiating between packets of cigarettes. You take away that, then you’re left with price.
“So prices are likely to go down making tobacco more accessible to young people, which is what the government is trying to stop.”
The industry also says fast food and soft drink companies could be next in line for regulation if the legislation passes.