ECJ rejects plain packaging on cigarettes challenge

ECJ rejects plain packaging on cigarettes challenge

The European Court of Justice has rejected a challenge to laws that could see plain packaging introduced on cigarettes.

The ruling requires that health warnings including a photograph must cover 65% of cigarette packaging.

The court also rejected a challenge to the ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes from 2020.

While a ruling banning advertising and sponsorship deals on e-cigarettes was also upheld following the challenge.

The Irish Cancer Society has said that this is a defeat for the tobacco industry who knows plain packaging works.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Big tobacco knows that plain packaging, as a health measure, works, and are doing everything to prevent its introduction because they need to recruit 50 new smokers every day in Ireland to replace those dying and quitting.”

The Irish Cancer Society warned however, that this will not be the last legal challenge to plain packaging either in Ireland or at EU level.

Mr. Buggy said: “The tobacco industry has deep pockets and will continue to fight these life-saving measures. Australia, the first country to introduce the measure, is still battling spurious cases from the industry four years on.”

A British American Tobacco spokesperson said: “We’ve always said that we support sound regulation that is consultative, evidence-based, delivers its policy aims and that respects our legal rights as a legal business selling a legal product.

“Despite today’s decision by the European Court of Justice, we stand by our belief that the Tobacco Products Directive is a clear example of the EU overstepping the limits of its authority. The reality is that many elements of the Directive are disproportionate, distort competition, and fail to respect the autonomy of the Member States."


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