Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v. Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited (s86B Undertaking)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) obtained court enforceable undertakings from Imperial Tobacco Australia Limited to remove its 'light', 'mild' and similar descriptors from its tobacco products.

The ACCC conducted an investigation and formed the view that Imperial Tobacco 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.

Imperial Tobacco 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 by 1 October 2005 and by 24 October for imported cigarettes; not make claims about the health benefits of low yield cigarettes when compared to high yield cigarettes; and to pay $1 million to the ACCC to fund anti-smoking consumer education campaigns and programs concerning low yield cigarettes.

The ACCC obtained similar undertakings from British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.