Ukraine Disorder Might Affect Big Tobacco Manufacturers

Published on May 12th, 2014 00:00

The overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich might have an unexpected effect on a broader struggle: the worldwide battle by health campaigners to prohibit tobacco marketing, which can eventually impact alcoholic beverages and junk foods as well.

Yanukovich's administration showed the initiative in challenging Australia after it passed uncertain constraints on the wrapping of cigarettes, a step that followers stated announced a new international wave of public health guidelines. A year ago, Ukraine started a case at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to attempt to cancel the Australian legislation, a move viewed by anti-tobacco representatives as a stalling approach by authorities with small interest in the situation, and whose legal obligations were being fulfilled by one or more cigarette manufacturers. These days Ukraine's change of government, and its empty treasury, sets the concern against Australia into question.

British American Tobacco (BAT), which has recently proved it, supported Ukraine's legal costs, decreased to point out if it had got in touch with Kiev ministries this week. Even so, it added it would keep on supporting the case. "BAT is still devoted to supplying legal assistance to countries, like Ukraine," the company explained in the interview.
A representative for Imperial Tobacco refused to chare its thoughts on the given challenge, stating that his company had not assisted Ukraine in the problem. Philip Morris International manager stated it was not encouraging Ukraine in any capacity. Japan Tobacco International declined to give any comment.

Ukraine is not the one country to have started a WTO case on the matter, though it was the first and is the nearest thing to getting into official lawsuit in the trade body that might ultimately create or split the Australian law. Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia have also submitted claims towards the Australian plain packaging law that prohibits catchy trademarks and colors on cigarette packages.

Australian cigarettes already are available in dull brown packages with brand names diminished to a small, standard font passed by graphic health warnings. Health advocates were puzzled by Ukraine's WTO suit since it is the beginnings of the major U.N. treaty on tobacco, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and moreover it was one of the countries that supported suggestions on how to put into action the treaty, which include passing the plain packaging regulation.