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Pending Litigation Brought by Multinational Tobacco Companies against Governments

The International Legal Consortium at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids maintains a list of tobacco-related litigation currently before courts and tribunals around the world. This list contains claims challenging tobacco control measures that have been brought by the largest multinational tobacco firms through either the parent company or direct affiliate (unless otherwise noted). While we have attempted to include all legal challenges brought by multinational tobacco firms against governments, we cannot guarantee that this list is exhaustive.

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Pending Litigation

Bangladesh

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers Association (Members include BAT)

General Claim:

The tobacco industry appealed a judgment declaring illegal a National Tobacco Control Cell notification that allowed the printing of the graphic health warning on the bottom 50% of tobacco packs and packages.

Procedural Status:

Matter is pending - one in the Appellate Division and the other in the High Court Division.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Brazil

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Souza Cruz Ltda. (BAT)

General Claim:

The tobacco industry challenged the constitutionality of the requirement of including a 30% text health warning in the front face of the packs.

Procedural Status:

Submitted in May 2017. Pending before 7.ª Vara Federal do Distrito Federal. ACT submitted an amicus brief in September 2017.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Brazil

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Sinditabaco (members include BAT, JTI, and PMI)

General Claim:

Numerous entities, including Brazilian tobacco lobbying group Sinditabaco, which counts BAT, JTI, and PMI as members, have challenged ANVISA Resolution No. 14 of March 15, 2012, which prohibits the use of certain additives in tobacco products.

Procedural Status:

Legal challenges have been filed before several different federal tribunals and are at different stages in the judicial process.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Canada

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Imperial Tobacco Canada

General Claim:

Imperial Tobacco filed a lawsuit challenging Canada’s Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations, which were issued in 2011. The Regulations increase the size of mandatory pictorial health warnings to 75% of the package. The Regulations also require health information messages and toxic emissions statements to be displayed on cigarette packages.

Procedural Status:

The lawsuit was filed on April 25, 2012.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Canada

Claimant/Plaintiff:

JTI-Macdonald Corp.

General Claim:

JTI Macdonald filed a lawsuit challenging Canada’s Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations, which were issued in 2011. The Regulations increase the size of mandatory pictorial health warnings to 75% of the package. The Regulations also require health information messages and toxic emissions statements to be displayed on cigarette packages.

Procedural Status:

The lawsuit was filed on April 3, 2012.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Colombia

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Coltabaco (PMI)

General Claim:

The tobacco industry is seeking to invalidate a local ordinance that banned the sale of tobacco products near educational and public health institutions in Popayan.

Procedural Status:

Pending. However, the local ordinance is not currently being enforced because of another claim submitted by an individual citizen that has represented the tobacco industry in other cases but is acting on his own behalf in this case. 

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Israel

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Juul Labs Inc.

General Claim:

Juul Labs Inc. is challenging amendments to the Restriction of Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products Law passed in December 2018. In particular, Juul is challenging the extension of tobacco-related restrictions to e-cigarettes such as Juul.

Procedural Status:

Juul Labs Inc. filed a petition with the Supreme Court on February 27, 2019.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

India

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Godfrey Philips
ITC, Ltd

General Claim:

The tobacco industry challenged the validity of the 2014 rules that require 85% graphic health warnings on both sides of tobacco product packaging.

Procedural Status:

Lower court ruled in favor of the tobacco industry.  Government and health groups appealed to the Supreme Court of India.  Petition submitted in January 2018.  Supreme Court stayed operation of lower court decision.  Matter to be decided soon on the merits.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Kenya

Claimant/Plaintiff:

British American Tobacco Kenya Ltd.

General Claim:

BAT Kenya sued the Kenya government to void the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 in their entirety, which include the following measures:

  • Solatium compensatory annual contribution (2% of the value of tobacco products manufactured or imported)  
  • Protections against public-tobacco industry interactions
  • Requirement for picture-based health warnings including the lack of technical repository given to BAT and the compliance date
  • Smoking ban in “streets, walkways, verandas adjacent to” public places
  • Requirement for owners to apply for certificate of compliance for designated smoking areas
  • Tobacco product and industry disclosures.

Procedural Status:

The High Court of Kenya issued a ruling in favor of the government on March 24, 2016. The Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s decision on February 17, 2017. BAT Kenya then appealed to the Supreme Court. After issuing an order on March 9, 2017 staying the decision of the appeals court while the appeal is pending, the Supreme Court heard the case on April 26, 2018. The Supreme Court then issued a notice for a re-hearing of the case for May 9, 2019. The decision is pending.

(Last Updated 05/06/2019)

Philippines

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Philippine Tobacco Institute (Members include PMI and JTI companies)

General Claim:

The tobacco industry has challenged as unconstitutional and invalid a City of Balanga ordinance making the City's 80-hectare University Town and its 3 kilometer radius tobacco-free, where the sale, use and marketing of tobacco products and e-cigarettes are banned. 

PTI filed the case on July 31, 2017 and a decision from a Regional Trial Court was issued in July 2018 in favor of the industry. The subsequent Motion for Reconsideration of the decision was also denied. An appeal was filed by the City and is currently pending with the Court of Appeals

Procedural Status:

An appeal was filed by the City and is currently pending with the Court of Appeals. 

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Pakistan

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd. (a subsidiary of BAT)

General Claim:

Pakistan Tobacco Company (a subsidiary of British American Tobacco) challenges the recently mandated 50% graphic health warning requirement.

Procedural Status:

During the initial hearing in this matter, the court refused to stay implementation of the 50% graphic health warnings.  Additional hearings in near future.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Pakistan

Claimant/Plaintiff:

Society for Alternative Media & Research (SAMAR) (as petitioner requesting government to implement 85% warnings); Pakistan Tobacco Company (a subsidiary of BAT) (as third party intervenor requesting government to NOT implement 85% warnings)

General Claim:

The Ministry of Health has delayed implementation of 85% health warnings on several occasions, and, as of the date of this review, the new health warning requirements have yet to be implemented. Public health groups have challenged this delay in the Islamabad High Court, and the Pakistan Tobacco Company, a BAT subsidiary, has joined the case as third party.  In June 2018, 50% graphic health warnings went into effect in Pakistan.  Notwithstanding the new 50% warnings, the challenge to the 85% warnings remains pending.

Procedural Status:

The matter remains pending.  Additional hearings in the near future.

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

Uganda

Claimant/Plaintiff:

General Claim:

British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) appealed a judgment upholding the constitutionality of several key provisions in the Tobacco Control Act, 2015, including, but not limited to, the law's smoking ban, the 65% pictorial health warnings, the prohibition on the sale of electronic cigarettes, the prohibition on privileges and incentives of the tobacco industry, and other FCTC Article 5.3 implementing measures.

Procedural Status:

On May 28, 2019, the Constitutional Court dismissed BATU's petition in its entirety and awarded costs to the government. On June 11, 2019, BATU filed notice of appeal to the Supreme Court.

(Last Updated 08/09/2019)

United States

Claimant/Plaintiff:

E-Cigarette manufacturers
Cigar manufacturers
Trade associations
Retailers

General Claim:

E-cigarette manufacturers, cigar manufacturers, trade associations, and retailers sued the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the FDA published its deeming rule, extending the agency's regulatory jurisdiction over tobacco products to e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and other products that had not yet been regulated by the FDA.

Procedural Status:

There are around 10 cases brought by plaintiffs that include various legal challenges at various legal stages. 

(Last Updated 05/07/2019)

 

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