Legal Intimidation

Legal tobacco wars across the globe

The tobacco industry has used a variety of methods to influence policy and legislation around tobacco control. Suing governments or threatening them with legal action is just one. The aim is to use court cases to block, nullify, modify or delay pending legislation.

Across the globe there are many examples that show how the tobacco industry has undermined government’s effort to protect public health through tobacco control by instituting large-scale lawsuits or threatening governments with these lawsuits.

Their legal intimidation tactics include providing testimony in court cases, writing position papers and constituency letters to government departments and face-to-face discussions with legislators to influence policy. 

Other methods of legal interference include:

  • exploiting legislative loopholes,
  • demanding a seat at government negotiating tables,
  • promoting voluntary regulations instead of legislation,
  • drafting sample legislation favourable to the industry,
  • challenging and stretching government timetables to implement laws,
  • bribing legislators,
  • gaining favour by financing government initiatives on other health issues and,
  • defending trade benefits at the expense of health

Uruguay wins court battle against tobacco giant

After a six year court battle, the Latin American state has won a landmark case against tobacco firm Philip Morris International.

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Australia's plain packaging problems

 The Australian government made an enormous investment in their fight against Big Tobacco and it’s global ambitions to wreck effective tobacco control.

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Tobacco giant fights UK plain packaging law

cigarettes-383327_1920The world’s second-largest cigarette maker British American Tobacco has lost a English High Court bid to prevent the UK government from implementing cigarette boxes without any packaging.

This decision by the English High Court is by no means the final word on the lawfulness of plain packaging.

But the tobacco giant believes that there were fundamental errors of law in the judgment and has applied for leave to appeal the decision.

In a statement on its website, BAT director of corporate and regulatory affairs, Jerome Abelman, said: “The judgment, if left to stand, should also raise real concerns for many other legitimate businesses as it creates a worrying precedent whereby public policy concerns can ride roughshod over long established fundamental commercial rights.”