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Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 852/2014/LP against the European Commission regarding its compliance with the Tobacco Control Convention [European Union] [October 01, 2015]
A non-governmental organization (NGO) complained that the European Commission was violating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires parties to protect against commercial and other vested interests of tobacco companies. The European Ombudsman agreed with the NGO that the European Commission’s policies did not provide sufficient transparency about its meetings with tobacco industry representatives. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission put into place a policy—similar to the policy currently in place by the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety—that requires online publication of all meetings with tobacco industry representatives and publication of the minutes from those meetings.
Rahul Joshi v. Union of India [India] [July 28, 2015]
Rahul Joshi filed a contempt petition citing willful disobedience of the Rajasthan High Court's July 2015 order staying the Government's rules holding in abeyance the implementation of the 2014 pack warnings. The court noted that its July order had the effect of the immediate implementation of the 2014 pack warnings and held that Mr. Joshi's contempt petition will be tagged with a future hearing on the merits of the writ petition.
Rahul Joshi v. Union of India [India] [July 03, 2015]
Rahul Joshi filed suit, seeking direction from the court for, among other things, implementation of the 2014 rules that called for health warnings on 85% of both sides of tobacco product packaging and the plain packaging of tobacco products. The court stayed the Government notification holding the 2014 rules in abeyance and directed that the 2014 rules be implemented. The court also called for the Central Government and the Government of Rajasthan to address plain packaging policy in their reply briefs.
Black v. Justice [United Kingdom] [March 05, 2015]
A prisoner claimed that smoking should be prohibited inside the prison. The court found that the national law prohibiting smoking in workplaces also applied to prisons, including state prisons. The court determined that the purpose of the law would be frustrated if it did not also apply to the government. The court found that it did not violate human rights laws or the prison rules to deny the prisoner access to a confidential complaint line to complain about smoking in the prison.
Dutch Association of CAN v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [October 10, 2014]
The Netherlands is a Party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In 2008, the Netherlands enacted a ban on smoking in public places. In 2011, the government added a limited exception for small cafes with a floor area less than 70 square meters and no staff. A tobacco control organization challenged the small cafe exception as a violation of Article 8 of the FCTC, which requires FCTC Parties to prohibit smoking in all indoor public places. In this decision, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that law's small cafe exception violated the FCTC and was illegal. Significantly, the court found that smoke-free requirements of the FCTC were sufficiently detailed to be supreme over a contradictory national law and directly binding within the country.
FIC Argentina v. Buenos Aires City Government [Argentina] [August 15, 2014]
A tobacco control NGO sued the Buenos Aires city government arguing that the lack of implementation of the local tobacco control law, with regards to smoke-free environments, violated the right to health. Furthermore, considering the violations of the law were higher in places like bars and night clubs, the NGO argued that workers in those places had lower standards of protection of their right to health. The judge rejected the lawsuit considering there was no illegal or arbitrary act from the local government. In addition, the judge stated that courts should not replace political decisions.
Doctors for You v. State of Bihar [India] [August 11, 2014]
Doctors for You, a non-governmental organization, sued the State of Bihar seeking implementation of various provisions of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). In response to the petition, the court ordered that signs informing the public about the negative effects of tobacco be posted at all government primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools as soon as possible. Additionally, the court ordered the local police to create a monthly report about enforcement of the Act and submit the report to various government agencies.
S. Cyril Alexander v. Union of India [India] [August 08, 2014]
A public interest lawsuit requested that the government exclude tobacco companies from the Corporate Social Responsibility requirements under Indian law in order to prevent the companies from earning goodwill through direct and indirect advertising. The petitioner asked for the money that tobacco companies would have spent on a corporate social responsibility campaign instead be paid to the government for medical expenses for people with tobacco-related diseases and other tobacco control programs. The court directed the government to determine how tobacco companies can best meet their corporate social responsibility obligations. The court asked for appropriate action to be taken within four months of the decision and disposed the petition.
Love Care Foundation v. Union of India [India] [July 21, 2014]
A non-governmental organization seeking to reduce smoking among Indian youths petitioned the Indian government to adopt plain packaging of tobacco products. The organization argued that attractive packaging is a form of advertisement and sought a rule prohibiting the use of logos, colors, or brand names on tobacco product packaging. After reviewing evidence supporting the impact of a tobacco plain packaging law in Australia and a study of plain packaging in Brazil, the court concluded that plain packaging and health warnings reduce the ability of attractive packaging to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking. The court urged the Indian government to consider the feasibility of implementing the plain packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products as early as possible.
Dharmendra Kansal v. Union of India [India] [June 03, 2014]
A public interest lawsuit requested that cigarette manufacturers and the Indian government comply with the provisions of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) regarding tar and nicotine levels. Specifically, the law requires manufacturers to provide the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes on the label. The law also requires the government to set maximum permissible limits for tar and nicotine, which are also to be displayed on cigarette packs. The court said that it did not have the power to compel the government to implement this provision of the law, even though the government had failed to set maximum tar and nicotine levels for cigarettes in the 11 years since the law was adopted. Instead, the court banned the sale of cigarettes in the State of Uttarakhand, effective one year after the date of the decision. The court said that the ban will not take effect if the government prescribes maximum nicotine and tar limits and manufacturers provide this information on their labels. Additionally, the court ordered that all loose cigarettes must be sold with the specified warning label on the cigarette or the packaging, effective six months from the date of the decision.