Philip Morris takes tobacco fight to courts

 
Lynsey Barber
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Smoking laws challenged by Philip Morris (Source: Getty)

Philip Morris has lodged a challenge against new European laws on tobacco products with the courts.

The cigarette company has filed papers with UK courts seeking a judicial review of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive by the European Court of Justice.

Philip Morris, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, contends that the new law does not improve internal markets and “raises questions under the EU Treaties about consumer choice, the free movement of goods, and competition.”

Marc Firestone, senior vice president and general counsel for Philip Morris, said:

“There is no disagreement that there should be strict regulation of tobacco products, but measures need to make sense and, above all, honor the EU treaties. We very much hope that this matter is referred to the EU’s highest court for a careful, objective review.”

The new legislation, which aims to reduce the number of smokers by 2.4m, will see larger health warnings on packaging, a ban on flavoured cigarettes such as menthols, and cigarettes sold only in packs of at least 20.

The rules came into force in May and must be introduced by all member states by May 2016.

Philip Morris expects a review to take up to three years.

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