Flemish Anti-Cancer League, et al. v. Belgium Council of Ministers

Applicants filed an action for annulment of Belgium's tobacco control legislation. The Court struck down exemptions to the law that permitted smoking in certain establishments whose principal activity was to provide drinks on site and wherein only pre-packaged food was served.  The Court found that these exceptions violated the Belgium Constitution, the Revised European Social Charter, and the European Convention on Human Rights, including the rights to equality before the law, non-discrimination, respect for private and family life, dignity, safe and healthy working conditions, and protection of health. The Court stressed the need to consider the protection of health in combination with Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) when addressing tobacco control legislation. According to the Court, the exposure to tobacco smoke could not be reasonably justified based on whether and what type of food was for purchase. The additional challenge to provisions of the legislation that allowed for designated smoking rooms was unsuccessful as the Court would not find that smoking rooms amounted to a violation of any rights.


Vlaamse Liga tegen Kanker (Flemish Anti-Cancer League), et al. v. Belgium Council of Ministers, Arrêt n° 37/2011 du 15 mars 2011, Constitutional Court of Belgium (2011).

  • Belgium
  • Mar 15, 2011
  • Constitutional Court



  • Interfoods
  • Others
  • Vlaamse Liga tegen Kanker (Flemish Anti-Cancer League)

Defendant Belgium Council of Ministers

Legislation Cited

International/Regional Instruments Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product