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  UK court rules against tobacco firms

UK court rules against tobacco firms

Published : May 20, 2016, 3:20 am IST
Updated : May 20, 2016, 3:20 am IST

Britain got the go-ahead on Thursday to make plain packaging compulsory on cigarettes when a court rejected a legal challenge brought by the world’s top four tobacco companies.

Britain got the go-ahead on Thursday to make plain packaging compulsory on cigarettes when a court rejected a legal challenge brought by the world’s top four tobacco companies.

British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands had argued the law, due to take effect on Friday, unlawfully took away their intellectual property.

 

In its ruling, the high court highlighted the moral dimension to the new regulations.

“It is wrong to view this issue purely in monetised terms alone,” it said. “There is a significant moral angle which is embedded in the regulations which is about saving children from a lifetime of addiction, and children and adults from premature death and related suffering and disease.”

Smoking kills about six million people every year.

BAT said the judgment contained a number of fundamental errors of law and the company was applying for leave to appeal the ruling, a spokesperson said.

Japan Tobacco also said it intended to appeal but Philip Morris said it would not.

 

BAT said it would keep trying instead to “focus on efforts to develop and commercialise scientifically substantiated reduced-risk products”.

Plain packaging means a ban on all marketing on tobacco packages — including colours, logos and distinctive fonts — to try to make smoking less attractive, especially to young people.

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