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Big Tobacco Loses Plain Packaging Case in Australia



Australia’s High Court of Justice has upheld a new government law on mandatory packaging for cigarettes that remove brand colors and logos from packaging, reports the BBC.

The new law mandates that cigarettes be sold in drab olive-green packs and ban all commercial logos. Packs will be distinguishable only by printed brand names in a standard font and size, according to The Australian. Large graphic health warnings will dominate the packs. The new law will go into effect in December.

British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco took their fight against the green boxes to the High Court in April, reports the Herald Sun.

The cigarette companies argued the Government was effectively taking their property without compensation by stopping them from using their trademarks. They also argued that the Government was taking their property for anti-smoking “advertising” and should pay for the privilege.

But to make their case, says the Sydney Morning Herald, the companies had to show that the government gained a measurable benefit as a consequence, which is apart from the claimed benefits to population health. The High Court responded that the companies’ case could not succeed unless it could be shown that the government had taken property from them.

British American Tobacco Australia said it was “extremely disappointed” the High Court had upheld “a bad piece of the law,” adding “at the end of the day no one wins from plain packaging except the criminals who sell illegal cigarettes around Australia.” The company believes that “the illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy.”

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek declared in the Sydney Morning Herald: “This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco related illness,” adding “No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard.” According to the ministers, plain packaging is a vital measure, “which removes the last way for big tobacco to promote its deadly products.”

The case will be of enormous interest around the world as other jurisdictions such as the UK and New Zealand contemplate plain packaging laws, says the Herald Sun.

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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