Tobacco CEO threatens to flood Australia with cheap cigarettes

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 9:53 EDT
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In a showdown with the government of Australia, the CEO of a major tobacco company has threatened to file lawsuits claiming “billions” in damages.

He also threatened to flood the country with half-price cigarettes to compete with the black market — a move that would ultimately drive up the number of smokers in the country and the government’s expenses in covering the related health costs.

That was the response of David Crow, who runs the British American Tobacco company, when confronted by a government plan to force tobacco purveyors into using packaging without any graphics.

He vowed to “defend our brands” by any means available and called government regulators “mad” for even entertaining the idea of uniform cigarette packaging.

British American Tobacco produces the Winfield and Benson & Hedges brands of cigarettes.

This video is from Australia’s The Daily Telegraph, published May 16, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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