Brussels. The European Union is weighing the possibility of forcing tobacco companies into packaging cigarettes without prominent branding, a spokesman said Thursday, hours after Australia’s highest court ruled that the approach is legal.
“We are working on a proposal to revise the tobacco products directive. Many things are being discussed, including the possibility of plain packaging,” European Commission spokesman Antony Gravili told reporters in Brussels.
The proposal is expected to be brought forward in October or November, Gravili said. It would have to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament in order to become law.
“We are still very much at the start of the thought process.
There’s nothing concrete at this point,” Gravili noted. “We are looking at a whole range of things.” In Australia, legislation approved last year and set to take effect in December would require cigarettes to be sold in almost identical olive-green packs bearing gruesome photographs of the health effects of smoking.
Gravili noted that another option under consideration is to require such dissuasive images to be larger in the EU.
On Thursday, Australia’s high court dismissed a challenge by tobacco firms who argued that the country’s anti-smoking initiative broke trademark laws.