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Metal cigarette packets: retailers could get burned

Metal cigarette packets: retailers could get burned

May 31, 2012

AT LEAST one tobacco company has moved to frustrate the impact of the Gillard government’s plain packaging laws by distributing metal cigarette packets for sale.

The Peter Stuyvesant-branded metal packets are now available for sale before the new regulations – due to take effect in December – which will outlaw the sale of packets bearing any brand or logo.The Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, warned retailers not to get burned by stocking metal cigarette tins that would not comply with the plain packaging regulations, due to take effect in December, and would become illegal to sell.

However, while the law may prevent sale, it will not prohibit people continually using the metal packet to hold their cigarettes.

The government is also about to introduce draconian penalties against tobacco smugglers, following industry claims that plain packaging would see an influx of black market tobacco. The attorney-general will today announce jail terms of up to 10 years for smuggling tobacco as part of tougher customs laws which will create a specific new offence aimed at black market tobacco traders.

Penalties range from two to five times the amount of duty evaded. Tobacco bought overseas is liable for a $420 excise duty.

Mark Metherell

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