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Topic: Industry Interference

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Search Results Results 1-10 of 35

Korea Electronic Cigarette Association v. Ministry of Health and Welfare [South Korea] [March 17, 2020]

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association challenged the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s directive, which held that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are not safer alternatives for smokers who are trying to quit cigarettes. The association also disagreed with the claim that small amounts of vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent that has been linked to vaping-related lung injuries, had been found in some products. The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the Ministry of Health and Welfare because directives do not infringe on e-cigarette companies' constitutional rights, as they are only recommendations and are not legally binding.

British American Tobacco Kenya, PLC v. Ministry of Health [Kenya] [November 26, 2019]

British American Tobacco Kenya filed a petition to the Kenya Supreme Court appealing a 2017 Court of Appeal decision upholding nearly all elements of Kenya’s Tobacco Control Regulations. The Supreme Court ruled that the tobacco company’s appeal had no merit, dismissed the petition in its entirety and affirmed the decision of the lower court.

Both lower courts upheld nearly all elements of the Regulations, which are designed to implement the Tobacco Control Act, including:

- a 2% annual contribution by the tobacco industry to help fund tobacco control education, research, and cessation;
- picture health warnings;
- ingredient disclosure;
- smoke-free environments in streets, walkways, verandas adjacent to public places and in private vehicles where children are present;
- disclosure of annual tobacco sales and other industry disclosures; and
- regulations limiting interaction between the tobacco industry and public health officials.

BAT Uganda Ltd v. Attorney General & Center for Health, Human Rights and Development [Uganda] [May 28, 2019]

British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU), a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court of Uganda in 2016 challenging the constitutionality of several key provisions in the Tobacco Control Act, 2015. The Court dismissed the Petition in its entirety and awarded costs to the government. The Court found that the Petition appeared to have been misconceived or brought in bad faith as part of a global strategy to fight tobacco control legislation. The challenged provisions upheld by the Court include provisions:

- requiring 65% or larger picture health warnings;
- banning smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, on all means of public transport, and in specified outdoor public places;
- banning all tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, including product displays at points of sale;
- prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in specified places (health institutions, schools, prisons, and other places);
- prohibiting the import, manufacture, distribution, and sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and shisha, smokeless, and flavored tobacco;
- banning the sale of tobacco products through vending machines and through remote means of sale (e.g., mail, internet); and
- implementing WHO FCTC Article 5.3.

Swedish Match Ltd. v. The Ministry of Health and Care Services [Norway] [February 19, 2018]

Swedish Match Ltd. filed a petition to appeal the 2017 Oslo County Court decision upholding Norway's plain packaging laws, specifically challenging 'snus' (oral tobacco). The Oslo County Court had dismissed the application ruling that plain packaging is both suitable, appropriate and necessary and that it does not involve any arbitrary discrimination or hidden trade restriction. The Borgarting Court of Appeal upheld the Oslo Country Court's decision and dismissed the appeal on February 19, 2018.

Swedish Match Ltd. v. The Ministry of Health and Care Services et al. [Norway] [November 06, 2017]

Swedish Match Ltd. ("Swedish Match") sought an injunction in the Oslo County Court to suspend Norway's plain packaging laws for 'snus' (oral tobacco) while it brought a full challenge to the law. The Norwegian law requires plain packaging for cigarettes, hand-rolled tobacco and snus. Swedish Match is the main producer of snus in Europe and Scandinavia. The key legal basis for the claim is that the law violates the EEA Agreement (the trade agreement with the European Union) because it is an unjustified restriction on the trade in goods. Swedish Match argued that snus is the least harmful smoke-free tobacco product on the market and that the government had not considered how important snus is as a harm-reduction product. They claimed it was wrong to treat cigarettes and snus equally in their packaging requirements and that there was no evidence that plain packaging would work to reduce tobacco use.

The Oslo County Court dismissed the application ruling that plain packaging is both suitable, appropriate and necessary and that it does not involve any arbitrary discrimination or hidden trade restriction. Swedish Match was ordered to pay all the government's legal costs.

British American Tobacco Ltd v. Ministry of Health [Kenya] [February 17, 2017]

British American Tobacco (Kenya) appealed a 2016 court decision, which upheld nearly all elements of Kenya’s Tobacco Control Regulations. The appeals court ruled that the tobacco company’s appeal had no merit and affirmed the decision of the lower court. The earlier ruling upheld nearly all elements of the Regulations, which are designed to implement the Tobacco Control Act, including:

- a 2% annual contribution by the tobacco industry to help fund tobacco control education, research, and cessation;
- picture health warnings;
- ingredient disclosure;
- smoke-free environments in streets, walkways, verandas adjacent to public places and in private vehicles where children are present;
- disclosure of annual tobacco sales and other industry disclosures; and
- regulations limiting interaction between the tobacco industry and public health officials.

The appeals court agreed with the lower court that the tobacco company had been given adequate opportunities for participation in the development of the regulations and that the regulations do not violate the tobacco company’s constitutional rights. 

British American Tobacco Kenya Ltd. v. Ministry of Health [Kenya] [March 24, 2016]

British American Tobacco (Kenya) filed a lawsuit claiming that Kenya’s Tobacco Control Regulations are unconstitutional. The court ruled against the tobacco company, finding that the process of developing the regulations was lawful and conducted with sufficient participation by the tobacco industry. The court upheld nearly all elements of the Regulations, which are designed to implement the Tobacco Control Act, including:

- a 2% annual contribution by the tobacco industry to help fund tobacco control education, research, and cessation;
- picture health warnings;
- ingredient disclosure;
- smoke-free environments in streets, walkways, verandas adjacent to public places;
- disclosure of annual tobacco sales and other industry disclosures; and
- regulations limiting interaction between the tobacco industry and public health officials.

The court specifically noted that the Tobacco Control Act and Regulations are intended to comply with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Additionally, the court acknowledged the harm caused by tobacco products and stated it would make its decision within the context of a public health system balanced against the commercial rights of the tobacco company.

The court struck down a few minor elements of the regulations, ruling that (1) the tobacco industry is not required to provide evidence of its market share to the government; and (2) that penalties for violation cannot exceed the maximums authorized by law.

The court ruled that the regulations should take effect six months after the date of the decision. 

Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [November 09, 2015]

A non-governmental organization sued the Dutch government for violating Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Article 5.3 of the FCTC requires Parties to the Convention to protect tobacco control policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry.  The court ruled that the NGO cannot require the Dutch government to take action in furtherance of Article 5.3 because the Article does not have a direct effect on the Dutch government. Additionally, the court found that Article 5.3’s requirements are not sufficiently clear. However, as a result of the lawsuit, the government created a document clarifying how it will implement Article 5.3. 

Institute of Public Health v. Union of India [India] [October 16, 2015]

The Institute of Public Health (IPH) filed suit seeking to bar government officials from participating in the 12th Annual Asia-Pacific Tax Forum organized by the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC).  IPH maintained that ITIC is an organization controlled by the tobacco industry and has an interest in promoting tax policies beneficial to this industry.  IPH alleged that government officials' participation in the Forum violates Art. 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the FCTC Art. 5.3 Guidelines which obligate FCTC Parties to protect their public health policies from the commercial and other vested interest of the tobacco industry.  The court dismissed the petition finding that the FCTC Art. 5.3 only requires transparency of government and tobacco industry interactions on matters related to tobacco control or public health and does not prohibit government officials from participating in conferences sponsored by the tobacco industry.  IPH sought review of the court's dismissal of the petition, alleging that the court's order contained erroneous factual findings.  The court disposed of IPH's petition for review finding that IPH's observations cannot change the facts that were initially before the court.  The court however left open the opportunity for a future petitioner to set forth the correct position with regard to the erroneous facts. 

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.