Tobacco control is widely considered the contemporary poster child of successful public health policy and practice in reducing major chronic diseases. In December 2012, the Australian government became the first nation to prescribe the entire packaging for any consumer product when it introduced plain packaging law for tobacco products. The bill attracted sustained opposition from the tobacco industry and its acolytes, a High Court challenge, a World Trade Organisation action and another claimed bilateral trade treaty violation between Australia and Hong Kong. Many millions of dollars were spent unsuccessfully by the tobacco industry in trying to defeat the bill. This lecture will consider both proximal and distal factors in the success of the bill. It will also consider the role of public health advocacy, and specifically the extent to which the case highlights the importance of active engagement by researchers in the policy advocacy process.