Swedish Match Ltd. v. The Ministry of Health and Care Services

Swedish Match Ltd. ("Swedish Match") sought an injunction in the Oslo County Court to suspend Norway's plain packaging laws for 'snus' (oral tobacco) while it brought a full challenge to the law. The Norwegian law requires plain packaging for cigarettes, hand-rolled tobacco and snus. Swedish Match is the main producer of snus in Europe and Scandinavia. The key legal basis for the claim is that the law violates the EEA Agreement (the trade agreement with the European Union) because it is an unjustified restriction on the trade in goods. Swedish Match argued that snus is the least harmful smoke-free tobacco product on the market and that the government had not considered how important snus is as a harm-reduction product. They claimed it was wrong to treat cigarettes and snus equally in their packaging requirements and that there was no evidence that plain packaging would work to reduce tobacco use.

The Oslo County Court dismissed the application ruling that plain packaging is both suitable, appropriate and necessary and that it does not involve any arbitrary discrimination or hidden trade restriction. Swedish Match was ordered to pay all the government's legal costs.


Swedish Match Ltd. v. The Ministry Swedish Match et al., Case No.: 17-110415TVI-OBYF, Oslo County Court (2017).

  • Norway
  • Nov 6, 2017
  • Oslo County Court


Plaintiff Swedish Match Ltd.


  • Norwegian Cancer Society
  • The Ministry of Health and Care Services

Legislation Cited

International/Regional Instruments Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product