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Argument: Right to Work

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Tabacalera Sarandí S.A. v. Argentine Tax Authority (AFIP) [Argentina] [May 13, 2021]

Tabacalera Sarandí S.A. had obtained a preliminary injunction to suspend the application of the minimum amount of a tax established for the commercialization of tobacco. Thus, the company could apply the tax rate (70%) on the retail price without considering the minimum amount. The company argued that this minimum put it at a disadvantage with other multi-national tobacco companies. The Argentine Tax Authority appealed the decision, saying that the ruling affected the public interest and the extra-fiscal purpose of the tax, which is the protection of public health. The Supreme Court ruled that the tobacco company had not sufficiently demonstrated its injury and did not prove the requirements to be granted with the injunction. Thus, the Court revoked the injunction.

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

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association challenged the constitutionality of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s guidance urging the public to stop using e-cigarettes at least until a safety management system could be put into place and research into human toxicity was completed. The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, holding that the guidance did not infringe on e-cigarette companies' constitutional rights. The ministerial guidance did not amount to an "exercise of government power" because it had no direct legal effect on the rights and duties of the people and is, therefore, not subject to adjudication on a constitutional complaint.

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.

Godfrey Phillips India Limited vs. Union of India [India] [August 31, 2018]

ITC and Godfrey Phillips India filed petitions in the Karnataka High Court challenging new 85% health warnings (dated April 3, 2018) that prescribed new images along with a quit line number. The tobacco companies asserted that the Government was not free to amend the Rules as the legality of related Rules (establishing 85% pack warnings) currently is pending in the Supreme Court. The Government maintains that the legality of the April 3rd pack warnings also was challenged in the Supreme Court, where the court refused to stay implementation, choosing instead to condense this matter with the review of the related 85% pack warnings. The Karnataka court refused to stay the April 3rd warnings, noting that using these new images would not constitute hardship to the tobacco companies as already 85% pack warnings are placed on packs.

Flavour of America S.A. v. Paraguay [Paraguay] [July 12, 2018]

The petitioners filed an appeal for legal protection, challenging the constitutionality of two administrative decrees that implemented Article 8 and Article 11 of the FCTC. The Court held that the Executive Branch’s decrees established duties, obligations, and restrictions not allowed under the National Constitution, the law ratifying the FCTC, or the Sanitary Code. According to the Court, the FCTC contained only “programmatic” clauses and not “self-enforcing” provisions. As a result, in the case of a framework convention, the law that approves it must necessarily be regulated by another law enacted by Congress. That Law can then be regulated by a decree issued by the Executive Branch. The Court stated that there is no express legislative delegation that enables the Executive Branch to regulate Articles 8 and 11 of the FCTC by decree, especially when there are already prior and subsequent laws entirely in force.

Pranvesh v. Union of India [India] [June 30, 2016]

A University of Allahabad student filed a writ petition alleging the unabated sale of tobacco to minors and adults in the city of Allahabad. The High Court of Allahabad found that temporary and permanent shops located near schools and other public institutions were making such sales. The Court also found that certain tobacco manufacturers presented misleading information about their products in print and visual media and failed to comply with the requirement for pictorial warnings on tobacco products.  The Court passed the following directions: (1) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within a 100 yard radius of educational institutions be removed; (2) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within 500 meter radius of the High Court and the District Court be removed; (3) that the sale of tobacco to persons seated in parked cars on roads and road sides be stopped; and (4) that strict action be taken against tobacco manufacturers who violate the requirement for compulsory statutory warnings on their products.

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.

Philip Morris GmbH v. Land of Bavaria [Germany] [December 11, 2013]

Philip Morris International’s German subsidiary appealed a city authority's decision to ban the tobacco company’s “Don’t Be a Maybe - Be Marlboro" advertising campaign launched in Germany in 2011. The tobacco advertising contained six different forms of a theme - the words “Maybe” or “Be” and short phrases containing these words, coupled with images of young people engaging in daring and rebellious activities.  The administrative court upheld the ban and found that the Marlboro campaign encouraged teenagers as young as 14 years of age to smoke in violation of Germany’s tobacco advertising laws. Additionally, the administrative court found that the campaign created an unfair advantage for Philip Morris International as compared to tobacco companies that abided by the advertising regulations. In its decision, the administrative court stated “the advertising specifically targets risk-taking, rebellious youths” and found that Philip Morris International’s argument that the purpose of "Be Marlboro" advertising was to encourage adult smokers to switch to Marlboro cigarettes was not credible based on the fact that “there is already a high degree of brand loyalty in this group of persons.”

Dutch Association of CAN v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [March 26, 2013]

A public health organization challenged a government decree that allowed smoking in small cafes and bars that are less than 70 square meters.  In this decision the Court applied FCTC Article 8 to the Dutch law.  The court found the exception for smoking in small bars to be inconsistent with Article 8.2 of the FCTC requiring legislation to provide effective protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor public places, without exception.  The court held this section to have direct effect on Dutch regulations despite the flexibility contained in other parts of the FCTC.  The court ultimately set aside the ruling of the lower court and ordered the government to enforce their ruling.

Sinditabaco v. ANVISA [Brazil] [December 17, 2012]

A Brazilian tobacco lobbying group, Sinditabaco, brought an action to stop the National Health Surveillance Agency, ANVISA, from implementing a rule to ban the use of additives and flavorings in cigarettes.  The group argued that ANVISA did not have the legal authority to make the rule and that the rule was not supported by any scientific evidence as to the health effects of the flavorings.  The group claimed the rule would affect over 95% of tobacco users and presented a petition signed by various stakeholders in the tobacco product supply chain claiming that it would cause billions of dollars of losses.  The legal representatives of ANVISA were not present at the hearing on the issue.  The court agreed to grant the preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of the rule, pending a hearing on the merits of the case.