JOHANNESBURG, July 25– South Africa plans to force cigarette companies to sell their products in plain packets by next year, despite an on-going World Trade Organization (WTO) investigation into Australia’s ban on tobacco branding.
South Africa, New Zealand, France, India and Britain are all considering adopting standardised plain packaging on tobacco products, a move which has been described by tobacco-producing countries as heavy-handed and an invitation to counterfeiters.
South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said Thursday that preparations for plain packaging would be made soon.
South Africa already requires cigarette manufacturers to depict bold health warnings on packaging and has banned smoking in many public places. However, health experts want even tougher restrictions.