Australia postpones new tobacco laws for 5 months

AP News

11/1/2011 9:21:43 PM - AP News

Australia has postponed by five months a planned prohibition on tobacco companies displaying their distinctive colors, brand designs and logos on cigarette packs.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said Wednesday that her government now intends to introduce so-called plain packaging laws starting December next year because the Senate has yet to pass the necessary bills.

While all parties have promised support for the legislation, Roxon blamed "a lack of enthusiasm" by the main conservative opposition party for unexpected delays. The Senate had been expected to pass the laws last month.

Tobacco companies are vehemently opposed to the changes that would strip billions of dollars from the value of their trademarks and threaten to set a global precedent.