LANGUAGE

Re Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations Inc v. Tobacco Institute of Australia Limited

In a previous decision, Morling J upheld the plaintiff's claim that a newspaper advertisement published by the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA) was misleading and deceptive in breach of the Trade Practices Act. Morling J had decided that the following statements in the advertisement were demonstrably false: "(T)here is little evidence and nothing which proves scientifically that cigarette smoking causes disease in non-smokers;"  and "The London Times reported findings from the Institute of Cancer Research in Surrey, England ... that 'passive smoking' for life-long non-smokers causes no significant increase in the risk of lung cancer, bronchitis or heart disease ... The Institute's conclusions are based on a wealth of statistical detail from a study involving 12,000 people."

In this decision Morling J ordered that the TIA pay the plaintiff's costs on an indemnity basis, having regard to the fact that the plaintiff had incurred substantial costs in the public interest. (Note: this decision was overturned on appeal - see Re Tobacco Institute of Australia Limited v Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations Inc [1993] FCA 83 (10 March 1993).

For the earlier decision, see Re Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations Inc v the Tobacco Institute of Australia Limited [1991] FCA 17 (7 February 1991).