Philip Morris to contest a controversial measure in European court

Published on June 17th, 2010 00:00

Philip Morris Norway (PMN), one of the operating units of world-famous tobacco group Philip Morris International has initiated a legal action against the ban on displaying tobacco products in the points of sale.

Anna Edwards, a communications manager of Philip Morris Norway stated that such measures have demonstrated to be useless in decreasing the percentage of smokers in those countries, where they have been adopted. Moreover, Norway Health Ministry confirmed this fact.

According to Edwards the display bans of tobacco products are good only at limiting the competition, by taking away the opportunity of Norwegian adult cigarette-lovers to select brands and see the new tobacco products.

PMN spokesperson acknowledged the group attempted to reach a compromise on this issue with Norwegian government, however upon failing in that attempt, PMN decided to initiate legal battle against the officials.

Philip Morris

By launching the lawsuit, the Marlboro cigarettes maker is willing to overturn the ban and allow stores owners to display tobacco products in their stores, providing smokers with a chance to take a look on the assortment and choose between the items. At the same the company has no plans on challenging other measures concerning tobacco industry implemented by Norway government.

Ms. Edwards said the company has backed several rigorous and efficient regulations that would close the access to cigarettes for the adolescents. Still, Philip Morris Norway believes Norwegian authorities should adopt only effective measures, such as the introduction of the images on health warnings placed on the pack of tobacco products, implementation of smoking bans, and ban on sales of single unpacked cigarettes.

The lawsuit was launched by the Pleas Court in Oslo. The plaintiff is contesting the point-of-sale ban, since it infringes the European Trade Legislation. The company is also set to refer the legal action to the European Economic Court.

Philip Morris International Inc. is one of the largest private tobacco companies in the world, with an approximate international market share of 15.4% (excluding the U.S.).

Under the Norway law, displays of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and other tobacco products were prohibited from January 1, 2010 in all points of sale across the nation. .

Display bans are as well implemented in Australia, Iceland and Ireland and in certain Canadian Provinces. The U.K. parliament is currently considering point-of-sale ban too.

Iceland became the first nation to approve such measure in 2001. According to statistics, the adult smoking rate across Iceland dropped from 25 percent in 2001 to 20 percent in 2007. However, it is not clear whether it was namely the display ban that contributed to the drop, or other anti-smoking measure implemented at the same time with the display ban.

Another research, carried out by LEGG group, a well-known financial consulting company, the ban on tobacco displays had no considerable impact on smoking rates in Iceland.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Related tags: philip morris | tobacco regulation | smoking lay | marlboro cigarettes | ban tobacco

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