Tobacco giants hint at court challenge against plain packaging

Tobacco firms are hinting strongly that they will challenge the enforcement of plain cigarette packaging in England through the courts after the government’s public health minister announced her intent to press ahead with the new regulations.

Jane Ellison is drawing up plans to force manufacturers into selling cigarettes in plain, unbranded packs, following publication of an independent report which found it was ‘very likely’ such a move would reduce both the uptake and prevalence of smoking.

The news hasn’t been received well by the likes of British American Tobacco however, who argue that the planned measure ‘fails to respect our minimum guaranteed rights on trade mark protection, contravenes EU law, affects property rights under UK law and infringes the UK’s obligations under international law.”

Industry rival Japan Tobacco International echoed this sentiment, stating that mandatory plain packaging would ‘without justification deprive JTI of its most significant property.’

Opponents of the planned action point to Australia where the introduction of plain packaging backfired when legal tobacco sales actually rose in the 12 months after it was introduced.

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