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Companies mandating tobacco

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The FDA issued the guidelines to help clarify what changes require regulatory approval under the 2009 Tobacco Control Act.But the tobacco companies said the FDA’s authority to regulate labeling was limited to products that claim to reduce tobacco-related harm or other circumstances addressed by formal rulemaking.

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"You don’t want to build jobs based on people who are sick," said Joe Maila, a spokesman for the Department of Health.The tobacco industry is strongly opposed to the proposal, with a number of companies having indicated that they are prepared to fight it on legal grounds.Government imposition of mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products has been objected to on the claimed grounds that the measure breaches trademark law, international trade agreements and intellectual property rights.We are very pleased that the highest court in Australia has said that the Australian Constitution allows this measure to be introduced."Ms Roxon's successor as Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the decision deprived tobacco companies of their "mobile billboards" in smokers' pockets."This is a victory for all of those families who have lost someone to tobacco-related illness," she said.The lawsuit also challenges portions of the guidance that call for companies to seek approval for changes to product quantity, such as putting more cigarettes in a pack.

An FDA spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

This is at least partly because the Government has yet to develop and test package designs that will make cigarettes less appealing, especially to young people.

However, it is likely that the measure will closely resemble the plain packaging recommendation of the National Preventative Health Taskforce.

The tobacco industry uses trademarks as a means to enable consumers to make judgments about particular brands of cigarettes and to differentiate between them.

As such, the industry argues that trademarks are of significant value to their owners and the wider economy and must be protected at both domestic and international levels.

He declined to provide a time frame for the new rules.