These are the cigarette packs Big Tobacco is afraid of

A hard sell
A hard sell
Image: Getty Images / AFP/ William West
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Cigarette packages in Australia have been stripped of all branding, under a new law, and replaced with warning labels and graphic images of charred lungs, diseased feet, bulging eyes, sick children, and dying cancer sufferers.

About 17% of Australians smoke, a similar rate as the United States but much lower than much of Europe. But the packaging regulation could have larger implications for the tobacco industry. “The plain packaging laws are, perhaps, a potential watershed for the global industry, which serves 1 billion regular smokers,” reports the Independent.

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The Guardian reports that Big Tobacco had lobbied heavily against the new packaging laws in Australia: “Tobacco giants fear that the landmark law, which they tried to thwart by funneling millions of pounds into an array of front groups purportedly representing small shopkeepers, will be copied around the world.”  One look at the new cigarette packs, and you understand what the tobacco industry is so afraid of.