Could this put an end to tobacco companies for good? 326



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Australia should be proud in many ways for how our government has tackled the tobacco industry – we have plain packaging, very high prices for smokes, smoking is down dramatically and less of our grandchildren are taking up the habit.

But there’s still been one thing our government and many others haven’t been able to do and that’s stop the big guys from winning the game. They have a product they know people want, and they want to sell it to them.

Now, the Obama administration has done something that will have health groups cheering and tobacco giants fuming: they have proposed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) makes it impossible for tobacco companies to have the final say and overturn laws that curb tobacco use.

The proposal was revealed by US officials on the first evening of trade negotiations in Atlanta, Georgia, where trade ministers from 12 Pacific-region countries have gathered to try to conclude the discussion on what will be the biggest regional trade agreement in history.

Anti-tobacco campaigners already made it clear they would only support the TPP if tobacco companies will have limited power, and that’s what the new proposal will do.

It will give governments, including Australia, the option to prevent foreign tobacco companies from challenging anti-smoking policies in their countries by exploiting a controversial clause in the agreement called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), according to World Trade Online.

This is good news for Australia because we have fought the big companies before and that clause has been used against us, particularly when Julia Gillard introduced plain packaging laws in 2012. Tobacco juggernaut Philip Morris used the ISDS clause in the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty to sue the Australian government, reports The Age.

An ISDS clause will still be included in the TPP, but tobacco companies will not be allowed to use it to stop foreign governments pursuing anti-smoking policies.

The TPP has been years in the making but it’s hoped a final deal may be confirmed this week, though it is doubtful at this stage due to some disagreements.


We want to know today: Were you ever a smoker? Do you think the TPP is a good idea in general? Do you support even tighter tobacco laws?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. the price of them would be enough to stop me from smoking

    3 REPLY
    • They take other cheaper drugs instead. Apparently there is so much available on the streets, and are turning normal kids into drug addicted violent monsters, and destroying their health, both physical and mental, but that is more acceptable, than a whiff of pesky cigarette smoke.
      Oh well, we getting rid of the smokes which have calmative properties, and may be detrimental to our health, so I guess we are progressing, at least that’s what the gullible are told to think and what a brilliant excuse to make them so expensive so they provide a massive windfall to the government coffers.

      1 REPLY
      • cost of smokes have gone up but drugs have gone down it seems more on drugs than smokes or booze all the do gooders want it stopped but I hope they get robbed to pay for the is a way to relax after a hard day at work but to the govement is more tax to pay if every one stopped to buy fuel,smokes,booze the govement would panic I just give up might grow my own tobacco but probley illeagal like every thing else…

  2. Hope so,let them find something for the betterment of health and wellbeing and invest in that.

  3. I was A smoker myself but I though this was A free country so live the smokers alone.

    2 REPLY
    • Free country no longer, went out the window ages ago. government wont stop until we are completely controlled. No i am not a smoker

    • I am an ex smoker….. what ever happened to freedom of choice. We are losing our personal freedom for everything.

  4. If the Governments were really serious about smoking, it would be BANNED completely. but the cigarette companies have too much power and money.

    3 REPLY
    • If they ban smoking, it will only go the way of all illicit drugs and then we will have another problem.

    • If they ban smoking the govt will not get its billions in revenue. That’s why they will never ban it, just keep putting the price up and up. Smokers are pretty much saving the economy.

    • I know that’s why they don’t ban them, but they are stopping people smoking just about anywhere except out in the dessert. It’s ridiculous..and no I’m not a smoker.

  5. They seem to be working at it, but people can’t tell you to stop. That decision has to come from within. You can make valid points for stopping, put ugly photos of the consequences on the packaging, but unless the desire is there, it’s wasted.

  6. My neighbors smoke out in there backyard because they don’t want the smell in their house, but guess what it comes straight into mine, ban the disgusting filthy habit for the benefit of all Australians.

  7. People who drink alcohol in excess are a bigger problem than smokers. Just ask the hospital ER departments.

  8. Cigarette companies are already have a lawsuit against the Aust Govt because plain packaging has lowered their profits.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes Leone I just wrote a comment on that subject, I have not heard the outcome if any as yet.

  9. There is one aspect of the smoking issue which needs to be considered, the plight of the mentally ill.
    These people are unable to cope with many aspects of life without their ciggies and the financial penalty affects their quality of life dramatically.
    There are those who will say they can quit and all the other arguments but the reality is a long way short of their capabilities.
    Let the moralisers walk a mile in their shoes.

    1 REPLY
    • There are better more effective ways to treat mental illness than tobacco

      1 REPLY
      • Kevin, you don’t know what you are talking about. Having a son & daughter in law with a mental illness I think I have better insight than most people. Both of them would love to stop smoking but, because they cannot take any of the stop smoking aids as they interfere with their medications, it is doubly hard for them. And as anxiety goes along with mental illness it is even harder than anyone can imagine. Somewhere in the region of 80% of people with a mental illness smoke tobacco.

        1 REPLY
        • Are you telling me their doctor is telling them that they should keep smoking, are the same medical professional telling patients to take up cigarette smoking as the preferred treatment for their medical condition

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