Philip Morris prepared to sue UK over plain cigarette packaging

LONDON Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:15am EDT

Packs of Marlboro cigarettes are displayed for sale at a convenience store in Somerville, Massachusetts July 17, 2014.       REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Packs of Marlboro cigarettes are displayed for sale at a convenience store in Somerville, Massachusetts July 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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LONDON (Reuters) - Philip Morris International, the world's largest tobacco company, is prepared to sue the British government should it implement a law requiring plain packaging of cigarettes, a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

The UK government has conducted a consultation with its Department of Health on potential legislation which would force cigarette makers to sell their products in plain packages with graphic health warnings and no branding.

The maker of Marlboro cigarettes "is prepared to protect its rights in the courts and to seek fair compensation for the value of its property," the company has told the UK government in response to its consultation.

The UK government said in April it wanted to implement plain packaging after a review found it could reduce the incidence of children taking up smoking. It published draft regulations in June, and launched a six-week consultation that ended last week.

Philip Morris submitted its response to the UK government after the consultation.

"'Standardized packaging' is a euphemism for government-mandated destruction of property," Philip Morris said in its submission, seen by Reuters on Tuesday. "It is unlawful, disproportionate, and at odds with the most basic requirements of the rule of law."

If it goes ahead, Britain would be the second country after Australia to ban cigarette branding.

Australia is already facing challenges at the World Trade Organization over complaints the laws create illegal obstacles to commerce.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; editing by Shadia Nasralla)

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Comments (4)
SixthRomeo wrote:
Then the same should be done for ALL brands of alcoholic beverages from beer through whiskey. Why the greatest advertisers of controlled substances is exempt is beyond comprehension.

Aug 12, 2014 9:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
MonitorLizard wrote:
SixthRomeo–Controlled substances usually refers to narcotic pain meds, etc.

Aug 12, 2014 11:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ThomasMalthus wrote:
‘SixthRomeo’, I must disagree. Mainly because smoking tobacco causes considerably more deaths than alcoholic beverages and much, much more combined. And, of course, we don’t actually inhale the combusted products of alcoholic beverages. Unlike tobacco smoke, which contains thousands of nasty chemicals. Hundreds of which you wouldn’t want to throw at your worst enemy (given the Chemical Weapons Convention) let alone breathe habitually into your lungs. And because alcoholic beverages don’t contain a compound anywhere near as addictive as nicotine. Not even remotely close.

Aug 13, 2014 2:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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