Australia introduces plain packaging for cigarettes
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A law forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets came into effect in Australia today in an effort to strip any glamour from smoking and prevent young people from taking up the habit.
The new law, the first of its kind anywhere the world, came into force despite a vigorous legal challenge by big tobacco, which argued that the legislation infringed its intellectual property rights by banning trademarks.
All cigarettes will now have to be sold in identical, olive-brown packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings.
A cashier at a Sydney newsagent said many customers reported finding the new packaging, which must feature graphic images such as a gangrenous foot, mouth cancer or a skeletal man dying of cancer, off-putting.
Sanjid Amatya said smokers were asking to pick and choose the images on their packets, with the photograph of gangrenous toes bothering many consumers, as well as one of a sick child affected by cigarette smoke.
"Some of them don't care what the picture is," Amatya said from the store in the suburb of Wynyard where he has worked for three years.
"But some say 'Why did they change the pictures? It's so awful'.
" Anti-smoking campaigners have welcomed the new law, which stipulates that 75 per cent of the front of packets must feature the graphic images.