LANGUAGE

Major Litigation Victories from Around the World

The International Legal Consortium at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has compiled a list of significant litigation victories from courts and tribunals around the world where public health has prevailed. These cases have been chosen for their wider international significance.

Reset
# The number of major legal cases in this region or country. Click to zoom or to view litigation details on the right.

Australia

The World Trade Organization (WTO) dismissed complaints by Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia, that Australia's tobacco plain packaging measures breached the WTO agreements. The dispute panel found that tobacco plain packaging "is apt to, and does in fact, contribute to Australia's objective of reducing the use of, and exposure to, tobacco products." The panel held that tobacco plain packaging is not more trade restrictive than necessary to fulfill Australia's legitimate public health objective, is a justified restriction on the use of trademarks, and does not violate trademark protections.

Policies:

Plain Packaging

Brazil

The Supreme Federal Tribunal, Brazil’s highest court, upheld a 2012 regulation that bans additives and flavors in tobacco products and affirmed the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency’s (ANVISA) right to regulate tobacco products. Although the decision is not binding because of a lack of quorum, it is unlikely that subsequent challenges to the regulation would be decided differently.

Policies:

Flavorings

Kenya

BAT appealed a ruling that upheld Kenya’s Tobacco Control Regulations including requiring pictorial warning labels, expanding smoke-free places, and limiting interactions between the tobacco industry and government officials. The appeals court affirmed the earlier decision and ruled that BAT's appeal had no merit. After issuing an order on March 9, 2017 staying the decision of the appeals court while the appeal is pending, the Supreme Court heard the case on April 26, 2018. The Supreme Court decision is pending.

Policies:

Health Warnings, Smoke Free Places, Tobacco Industry Challenges

European Union

PM and BAT sought judicial review of the UK's decision to implement the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and the case was referred to the Court of Justice of the EU on questions of EU law. The Court upheld all aspects of the TPD, including pictorial warnings, a menthol ban, and the potential for countries to enact plain packaging.

Policies:

Flavorings, Health Warnings, Plain Packaging, Tobacco Industry Challenges

France

JTI, PMI, BAT and others brought six legal challenges against France's plain packaging regulations. The Conseil d’Etat (the highest administrative jurisdiction in France) dismissed all six challenges, holding that to the extent there is any infringement of property rights, the infringement is justified by the public health objective.

Policies:

Plain Packaging, Tobacco Industry Challenges

United Kingdom

Major tobacco companies challenged the UK's plain packaging restrictions. In an extensive ruling, the High Court of Justice dismissed the tobacco companies' claims, finding that the plain packaging restrictions were justified, did not violate the tobacco companies' property rights, and were supported by the WHO FCTC.

Policies:

Plain Packaging, Tobacco Industry Challenges

India

Pro-tobacco groups challenged India's rules increasing pictorial health warnings to 85% of tobacco product packaging. The Supreme Court of India consolidated the various cases and ruled that the pictorial health warnings may be implemented while the lawsuit continues. 

Policies:

Health Warnings

Panama

BAT Panama and others challenged a decree banning point of sale displays. The Supreme Court upheld the decree, finding no violation of tobacco companies' intellectual property rights or consumers' rights to access information. The court referenced the WHO FCTC Article 13 Guidelines.

Policies:

Point of Sale Display Ban, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Uruguay

PMI brought an investment arbitration claim alleging that two of Uruguay’s packaging laws (large warnings and a single presentation/brand requirement) violated a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Switzerland. The Tribunal ruled in favor of Uruguay, and highlighted the importance of the WHO FCTC in setting tobacco control objectives.

Policies:

Health Warnings, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Argentina

A BAT affiliate unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of a subnational law that banned tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The Argentine Supreme Court ruled that the law is a reasonable restriction on commercial freedoms given the harm caused by tobacco. 

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Australia

Philip Morris Asia challenged Australia's tobacco plain packaging legislation under a 1993 Bilateral Investment Treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. The tribunal issued a unanimous decision concluding that the claim was an 'abuse of rights' under the treaty because Philip Morris Asia was not a foreign investor in Australia at the time the dispute arose. Thus, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the claim.

Policies:

Plain Packaging, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Canada

Tobacco companies challenged the constitutionality of a law allowing the government to sue tobacco manufacturers to recover the health care costs for individuals with tobacco-related illnesses. The Appeals Court of Quebec upheld the constitutionality of the law and dismissed the tobacco companies' appeal.

Policies:

Health Care Cost Recovery

Colombia

A Ministry of Health administrative decision found the expressions “Click & On,” “Click & Roll,” “Krystal Frost,” “Filter Kings,” and “Frozen Nights” on tobacco product packages are a form of deceptive advertising. The State Council rejected a challenge by BAT Colombia, agreeing that the terms are deceptive and that the administrative decision did not violate the tobacco company's intellectual property rights. 

Policies:

Misleading Packaging and Labeling, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan President sought judicial review of a bill that would require pictorial health warnings to cover 80% of each tobacco pack. Ceylon Tobacco intervened in the case opposing the pack warnings. The Supreme Court ruled that the pack warnings do not violate the constitution and referenced the importance of protecting public health.

Policies:

Health Warnings

Peru

BAT challenged a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco packs containing fewer than 10 cigarettes, alleging that the law violated the freedom of enterprise and industry. A Civil Chamber of the Superior Court rejected an appeal by BAT and affirmed the earlier decision, which found that the measure complies with the proportionality principle.

Policies:

Minimum Pack Size, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Netherlands

The Netherlands created an exception for small cafés in the country's law banning smoking in indoor public places. A tobacco control organization challenged the exception as a violation of the WHO FCTC, which requires Parties to prohibit smoking in all indoor public places. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the law's small café exception violated the WHO FCTC and was illegal.

Policies:

Smoke Free Places

Panama

BAT challenged the constitutionality of a point of sale display ban. The Supreme Court upheld the ban and noted that even freedom of expression could be restricted if necessary to protect public health.

Policies:

Point of Sale Display Ban, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Thailand

Japan Tobacco challenged a requirement of 85% pack warnings. The Supreme Administrative Court found that the requirements are not outside the intended scope of the tobacco control law and allowed implementation of the pack warnings while the case is ongoing. 
  

Policies:

Health Warnings, Tobacco Industry Challenges

India

Tobacco companies challenged government rules on tobacco advertising, including limits on point of sale advertising and health warnings. Following a petition from a civil society health group, the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision which had prevented implementation of the rules. 

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Australia

Tobacco companies challenged the constitutionality of a law requiring "plain" packaging of tobacco products, including large pictorial health warnings. The High Court upheld the constitutionality of the law. The Court ruled that although the government had "taken" the property of the tobacco companies, there had been no "acquisition" because neither the Government nor any third party acquired any benefit as a result.

Policies:

Health Warnings, Plain Packaging, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Costa Rica

This decision is an official consultation by ten legislators to the Constitutional Court regarding the constitutionality of Costa Rica's broad tobacco control legislation. The Court declared the law constitutional and explained that the country has the power to place effective restrictions on tobacco with the goal of protecting public health.  

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship, Minimum Pack Size, Price and Tax Measures, Smoke Free Places

Norway

Philip Morris Norway challenged Norway's ban on the display of tobacco products at retail establishments. The Oslo District Court upheld the ban, determining that it is necessary to denormalize tobacco use and that no alternative, less intrusive measure could produce a similar result.

Policies:

Point of Sale Display Ban, Tobacco Industry Challenges

South Africa

BAT challenged the constitutionality of a law prohibiting advertising or promotion of tobacco products. The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling finding the law constitutional. The Court found that the limitation on speech was justified by the hazards of smoking. 

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship, Tobacco Industry Challenges

United Kingdom

Vending machine operators challenged a ban on cigarette vending machines as a violation of an EU treaty regarding restrictions on imports. The Court of Appeal rejected the lawsuit. The Court found that the ban is a lawful way to reduce youth smoking and noted support in the WHO FCTC for a vending machine ban. 

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Peru

Five thousand Peruvian citizens challenged the constitutionality of an article of the tobacco control law that completely prohibits smoking in certain public places, including outdoor areas of educational facilities. The Constitutional Court dismissed the lawsuit. The Court confirmed the constitutionality and legality of the law, finding that the smoking ban was the ideal means to comply with the WHO FCTC. 

Policies:

Smoke Free Places

Colombia

Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of legislative measures banning the advertisement and promotion of tobacco products, arguing that the measures violate the freedoms of economy and enterprise. The Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the law, citing the country's obligations under the WHO FCTC.

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Panama

BAT challenged a decree requiring smoke-free environments and banning tobacco advertising. The Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice upheld the decree based on the constitutional right to health and the objectives of the WHO FCTC.

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship, Smoke Free Places, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Uruguay

A PMI affiliate challenged the constitutionality of a law under which the Ministry of Health required health warnings to cover 80% of the principal display areas of tobacco packages. The Supreme Court found the law constitutional and noted that it was based on the WHO FCTC.

Policies:

Health Warnings, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Brazil

Tobacco company Souza Cruz challenged a resolution that mandated all tobacco packaging and advertising warn consumers of the health risks associated with smoking. The Regional Federal Court upheld the resolution, finding that the government agency did not exceed its powers.

Policies:

Health Warnings, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Brazil

Tobacco company Souza Cruz sued the government for shutting down smoking points in the International Airport of Rio de Janeiro-Galeão. The Superior Court of Justice overturned an earlier decision and ruled that the tobacco company's "smoking points" violated the law and must be closed.

Policies:

Smoke Free Places, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Sri Lanka

Tobacco companies sued government officials, challenging a tobacco control law that would prohibit smoking in enclosed public places. The Supreme Court found the law constitutional, ruling that exposure to tobacco smoke is harmful to public health and a law could be validly enacted to prevent such exposure in enclosed public places.

Policies:

Smoke Free Places, Tobacco Industry Challenges

Bangladesh

Individuals sued the government asking it to enforce the required warning on tobacco's health effects. A second lawsuit argued that a BAT touring luxury yacht constituted illegal advertising. In a combined ruling, the High Court recognized the harms of smoking and directed the government to prohibit certain advertising and promotion of tobacco products. The Court also ruled that promotional efforts like the yacht are prohibited. 

Policies:

Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

 

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact us