Dutch Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation, Van Veen, Breed v. PMI, BAT, JTI, IT

Anne Marie van Veen and Lia Breed, two patients who suffer from lung cancer and respiratory disease, and the Dutch Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation filed a complaint in 2016 with the Dutch public prosecutor’s office against tobacco makers Philip Morris International Inc., British American Tobacco Plc, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Benelux. The complaint alleged that the tobacco manufacturers are, in short, guilty of attempted manslaughter and/or murder, attempted severe and premeditated assault and/or attempted premeditated harm to health with intent.  It also alleged that tobacco companies used deliberately misleading laboratory tests to gauge levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide. The complaint described that the tobacco companies were liable because of “the large-scale, decades-long and ongoing production and sale of addictive tobacco products in the Netherlands.” The Dutch public prosecutor’s office declined to pursue a case against tobacco makers finding that "[a] successful prosecution of the tobacco manufacturers -- one resulting in a conviction -- is not possible within the current regulations and parameters."

The Appellate Court upheld the Dutch public prosecutor's decision. The Appellate Court found that "the cigarettes of the tobacco producers are made and tested according to stringent Dutch and European laws and regulations. As long as the tobacco producers comply with these European and national rules, the Member States (and therefore also the Netherlands) must not prohibit the trade in cigarettes according to the same European rules. The (European) regulator can only decide overriding measures against tobacco producers."

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Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd [Dutch Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation], Anne Marie van Veen, and Lia Breed v. Philip Morris International Inc., British American Tobacco Plc, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco Benelux, Gerechtshof Den Haag [Hague Court of Appeal], 06 December 2018, Case Number: K18220231

  • Netherlands
  • Dec 6, 2018
  • Court of Appeal, The Hague

Parties

Plaintiff

  • Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd [Dutch Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation]
  • Anne Marie van Veen
  • Lia Breed

Defendant

  • British American Tobacco Plc
  • Imperial Tobacco Benelux
  • Japan Tobacco International
  • Philip Morris International Inc.

Cited Legislation

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Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product