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ASH Press release: Tobacco industry appeal against standard packs law rejected

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

London - The Appeal Court has today handed down a ruling rejecting the tobacco industry’s appeal against the law requiring standardised packaging of cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco.[1]

The tobacco companies’ initial challenge to the legislation was defeated in the High Court in May 2016 but 3 of the 4 international companies (BAT, JTI & Imperial Tobacco) pressed ahead with an appeal. This in turn has now been rejected by the Appeal Court. [2]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“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.”

The referendum to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’) will not make any difference to this ruling. The law is embedded in domestic legislation. The law on standardised packaging is UK legislation which helps countries meet their obligations as Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. [3] The tobacco companies have until 9 December to make any application to appeal.


Notes and Links:

[1] The Appeal court ruling will be available from this website: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/

[2] The original complainants included all four major international tobacco companies: British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International plus 4 producers of tipping papers. In May 2016, one day before the regulations took effect, the Hon Mr Justice Green rejected every argument the industry put forward in court. All of the companies except Philip Morris International appealed against the judgement. summary of the judgment.

[2] The UK is one of five countries to have passed legislation requiring standardised tobacco packaging. The others are: Australia, France, Ireland and Hungary (although Ireland has yet to get its regulations through parliament). A further 13 countries are working towards legislation.

[3] For more information see: ASH Briefing: Impact of “Brexit” on UK tobacco control legislation


Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7404 0242 (w) or 07976 935 987 (m)

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