Big tobacco’s appeal against plain packaging rejected

A mock-up of compliant tobacco packaging

An appeal against new rules for standardised packaging of tobacco by a group of tobacco companies has been rejected.

The UK Court of Appeal recently rejected the second challenge brought by British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco.

The initial challenge against the legislation, brought by the aforementioned three companies and Philip Morris, was dismissed by the High Court earlier this year.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of anti-smoking charity ASH, commented on the ruling, “This is a victory for public health and another crushing defeat for the tobacco industry. This ruling should also encourage other countries to press ahead with standardised packaging, now that the industry’s arguments have yet again been shown to be without foundation.”

A spokesperson for British American Tobacco said the ruling was “disappointing” but did “not necessarily mark the end of the challenge”.

“We remain firm in our belief that plain packaging is an ineffective policy that doesn’t work to reduce smoking levels – and it’s important to remember this decision by the Court of Appeal is not an endorsement of the effectiveness of this measure.

“In upholding the original decision, we remain concerned that the Court of Appeal has made many of the same fundamental errors of law as the original judge. These are issues of significant constitutional and commercial importance which, if left unchallenged, would have serious implications for other legitimate businesses and for the ability of the Government to act first and justify later when it comes to regulation.”