Australia's highest court has dismissed a challenge by the tobacco giants to a law requiring all cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging. The government hailed the ruling as a "watershed moment" in the global fight to cut deaths from smoking.
The ruling – in a case closely watched by the UK and others considering similar legislation – means that from 1 December, companies will be barred from displaying their logos and brand designs on cigarette packets. All packs will be a drab olive colour, showing only the brand name and graphic health warnings.
The decision was welcomed by health groups, which said the laws, aimed at removing smoking's glamorous image, would discourage young people from taking up the habit. Australia's Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, said it should act as a "clarion call to every country grappling with the costs and harm of tobacco".
"This is a watershed moment for tobacco control around the world," said Ms Roxon, whose father, a smoker, died of cancer when she was 10. "The message to the rest of the world is big tobacco can be taken on and beaten." Companies had claimed the law was unconstitutional because it effectively extinguished their intellectual property rights.