Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v. Philip Morris (Australia) Limited (s86B Undertaking)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) obtained court-enforceable undertakings from Philip Morris Limited and Philip Morris (Australia) Limited to remove 'light', 'mild' and similar descriptors from their products.

The ACCC conducted an investigation and formed the view that Philip Morris had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by using descriptors on cigarette brands and packaging such as 'light', 'mild', 'medium' etc and numbers (ie. '1','4','7' etc), which represented to consumers that there were health benefits in smoking those products compared to higher yielding or full strength cigarette brands.

Philip Morris provided court-enforceable undertakings to the ACCC pursuant to s86B of the Trade Practices Act to: remove 'light' and 'mild' descriptors and related numbers from all cigarettes produced for Australian consumers from 31 July 2005; not make claims about the health benefits of low yield cigarettes when compared to high yield cigarettes; and pay $4 million to the ACCC to fund anti-smoking information campaigns and programs concerning low yield cigarettes.

The ACCC obtained similar undertakings from British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco.