Sunday, 1 July 2018

The domino theory revisited

As predicted from leaked reports last year, the World Trade Organisation has rejected the appeal of various countries against plain packaging. This is an unfortunate but important development because it shows that the WTO will not stand up for trademarks and intellectual property rights.

As a precedent, the implications go far beyond tobacco. With the court case settled (appeals notwithstanding), the Guardian has come clean....

'Resounding victory': Australia wins tobacco plain packaging dispute

WTO rejection of challenge seen as global test case could lead to tighter rules for unhealthy foods and alcohol

... Australia’s law, introduced in 2010, bans logos and distinctively-coloured cigarette packaging in favour of drab olive packets that look more like military or prison issue, with brand names printed in small standardised fonts.

The challenge to it was seen as a test case for public health legislation globally, and could lead to tighter marketing rules for unhealthy foods and alcohol as well as tobacco.

But, but, but, didn't Deborah Arnott of ASH reassure us - when talking specifically about plain packaging - that...

...the “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false.

I can't believe the 'public health' people tricked us again! If only someone had warned us!

Image from the 2015 Tobacco Atlas

Oh well, I guess it's open season on the packaging of any product that displeases the puritans.

As for the legal case itself, Sinclair Davidson shows how the Australian government lied to the WTO here and here.

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