Dec 01 - The world's toughest anti-tobacco laws come into force in Australia. Paul Chapman reports.
The imagery of glamour, wealth and luxury are gone. This is how tobacco firms must sell their wares in Australia. Drab uniform coloured packs adorned with images of sick babies and diseased body parts. The world's toughest anti-tobacco laws came into effect on December 1st. These smokers in Sydney say it's unlikely to make any difference to them. SOUNDBITE: VICTOR EL HAGE, SMOKER, SAYING (English): "What the packages? No, to me they are just pictures you can find in any places, you know They mean nothing to me. SOUNDBITE: LISA WRIGHT, SMOKER, SAYING (English): "We already know the effects especially being 20 years a smoker, you know, it's our choice." The government is hoping the changes will deter younger people from starting in the first place. SOUNDBITE: FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER TANYA PLIBERSEK SAYING (English): "It is the only legal product that, if taken as recommended by its maker, is likely to kill half of its regular users." But Scott McIntyre of British American Tobacco says the measures have a serious downside. SOUNDBITE: SCOTT MCINTYRE, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO SPOKESMAN, SAYING (English): "When you make packets of cigarettes easy to copy, becoming exactly the same, the counterfeiters from China and Indonesia will bring lots more of these products down to sell on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne and all across the country." Australia has one of the world's lowest smoking rates so the changes will do little harm to the tobacco companies' profits. But other countries are watching - and waiting - to see if they should follow suit.