Plain packaging on cigars and other tobacco products is about to become a reality in Australia, as the country’s High Court upheld the constitutionality of a law passed by Parliament requiring the change. The ruling was announced on August 15, yet the court’s opinion on the case has yet to be published.

The law goes into effect on December 1, 2012, and requires that all tobacco products sold at retail be sold in plain packaging. The key issue before the court was whether, under the Constitution, plain packaging is an ‘acquisition of property’, which includes a corresponding benefit to the government.

There are several pending challenges between tobacco companies and the World Trade Organization regarding the issues, as some believe that the legislation contradicts Australia’s obligations as a WTO member.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.