Ceylon Tobacco v. Minister of Health

The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health adopted regulations requiring tobacco products to contain graphic pictorial health warnings on 80% of the pack. The Ceylon Tobacco Company sued, claiming that the regulations exceed the authority of the Ministry and also violate the company’s intellectual property rights. In this decision the Court of Appeal found that the national tobacco law does provide the Ministry with authority to require pictorial health warnings, not just textual warnings. However, the court reduced the size of the warnings to between 50% to 60% of the cigarette pack in order to give tobacco companies more space in which to display their trademark. The court said that it was balancing the need to protect the health of citizens against the rights of a business to use its trademarks to help identify and sell its products. The court ordered the Ministry to issue new regulations allocating between 50% to 60% of the package for pictorial health warnings. 


Ceylon Tobacco Co v. Minister of Health, C.A. 336/2012, Court of Appeal (2014).

  • Sri Lanka
  • May 12, 2014
  • Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka


Plaintiff Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC


  • Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, Secretary, Ministry of Health
  • Hon. Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Health
  • National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol

Legislation Cited

International/Regional Instruments Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product