Big Tobacco should do the Right Thing by Small Business
The Australian Government would not allow tobacco companies to use retailers as pawns in their fight against plain packaging, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek said on 30 November.
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30 November 2012
Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek today said that the Gillard Government would not allow tobacco companies to use retailers as pawns in their fight against plain packaging.
“Australia’s world first plain packaging laws become fully operational tomorrow and the Government has had complaints from retailers that one of the large tobacco manufacturers is not accepting the return of non-compliant stock,” said Ms Plibersek.
“This is action that will of course hurt small business.
“Big Tobacco has had 12 months to plan for the transition to plain packaging and we would have expected them to work cooperatively with their retailers, especially the small business sector.
“This does show that Big Tobacco don't care about who they hurt. It's no wonder that they have the lowest reputation of any industry in the world.
“I have asked my Department to write to the company who are the subject of the complaints and call on them to take back non-compliant stock and make their position public.
“We have introduced an enforcement policy that will see us for three months focus on education and working with retailers to implement plain packaging.
“The Government has a range of enforcement options ranging from education to imposing significant fines for non-compliance.
"Instances of potential non-compliance will be considered on a case by case basis and there are a range of measures that can be used. But there will be an emphasis on education in the first instance.
“Plain packaging is the next step in our fight against the death and disease caused by tobacco and plain packaging removes Big Tobacco’s last portable advertising - the packet,” said Ms Plibersek.
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