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Dir. of CPI of SIC v. Coltabaco S.A.S. et al. [Colombia] [December 27, 2019]
In 2017, the Directorate of Consumer Protection Investigations of the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce ("SIC") opened an investigation following a complaint to prompt SIC to stop IQOS marketing.
SIC dismissed the complaint after taking the following into consideration:
- The Ministry of Health asked for IQOS products to be treated as tobacco products.
- SIC focused on the fact that only the tobacco sticks for heated tobacco products, as opposed to the IQOS device, are mandated to have health warnings.
- According to the SIC, IQOS does not fall under the authority of the tobacco control law in Colombia (Law No. 1335).
- IQOS marketing practices have not violated consumer protection regulations in Colombia.
IQOS hidden self-advertising decision [Italy] [December 19, 2018]
Philip Morris International’s Italian affiliate company Philip Morris Italia S.r.l (PMI) was found guilty of a breach of the Consumer Code as a result of 'hidden advertising.' There were a number of magazine articles that appeared in various publications in Italy, which on their face were about other subjects (e.g., how to freshen up a used car, how to cook at the right temperature), but also used part of the article to extol the virtues of IQOS. The Italian Competition Authority held that this was a violation of non-transparent advertising and was in breach of the Consumer Code. PMI was fined 500,000 Euros (the maximum), and the publisher was fined 50,000 Euros.
New Zealand MOH v. PMI [New Zealand] [March 12, 2018]
The Ministry of Health ("MOH") charged Phillip Morris Ltd. with selling tobacco product called “Heets,” a heated tobacco product, in violation of Sec. 29(2) of the Smoke-free Environment Act 1990 (‘the Act’). The Act prohibits the sale of tobacco "labelled, or otherwise described as suitable for chewing, or for any other oral use (other than smoking)." The Court held that the Act was originally intended to control the sales of chewing tobacco and other tobacco products consumed orally, and therefore "Heets" did not fall within Sec. 29(2).