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UK High Court: Tobacco will be packed plain, non-branded

Staff writer |
Tobacco companies have lost a High Court challenge against the government's new plain packaging rules, which are due to kick in on Friday.

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Saving children from a lifetime of addiction.
The challenge was led by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, while Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco International were interested parties. The companies had expressed concern over plain packaging's impact on competition and argued that it deprived them of their intellectual property.

Under the new law, which came into force in Australia in 2012, cigarettes will have to be sold in plain, standardised packaging, with no bright colours allowed.

In addition, the health warnings on the cigarette packs will have to be bigger and there will be no branding other than the brand name in plain font.

Up until now, companies had been allowed to use 35% of the packaging for branding, and the remainder for health warnings.

In the 386-page ruling, Justice Green said: "If one examines the issue purely by comparing the monetary losses the tobacco industry assert that they will incur against the costs which would be saved to the public purse by the regulations the balance comes out very clearly indeed on the side of the public purse.

"Yet it is wrong to view this issue purely in monetised terms alone; there is a significant moral angle which is embedded in the Regulations which is about saving children from a lifetime of addiction, and children and adults from premature death and related suffering and disease. I therefore reject the claimants' case that the regulations are disproportionate."

The UK is the first European country to introduce plain packaging.

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