Philip Morris to sue Norwegian state / News / The Foreigner

Philip Morris to sue Norwegian state. Tobacco giant claims concealing tobacco products contravenes competition law. Philip Morris Norway (PMN) has announced it’s going to sue the Norwegian state. They claim the ban against displaying tobacco products that came into force on 01 January is illegal. “These regulations prevent adult consumers from seeing the available product range. We have raised these issues with the government to no avail, which has regrettably left us with no choice but to litigate,” says Anne Edwards, spokesperson for PMN.

philip, morris, tobacco, products, ban, display, norway, norwegian, state, iceland, canada, ireland



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15:23:52 — Sunday, 22nd October, 2017

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Philip Morris to sue Norwegian state

Published on Tuesday, 9th March, 2010 at 11:12 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Tobacco giant claims concealing tobacco products contravenes competition law.

Cigarette
Cigarette
Photo: SuperFantastic/Flickr


Prohibitive

Philip Morris Norway (PMN) has announced it’s going to sue the Norwegian state. They claim the ban against displaying tobacco products that came into force on 01 January is illegal.

“These regulations prevent adult consumers from seeing the available product range. We have raised these issues with the government to no avail, which has regrettably left us with no choice but to litigate,” says Anne Edwards, spokesperson for PMN.

Edwards goes on to say the company isn’t seeking any other changes to the Norwegian tobacco law. They only want the ban overturned because it overly restricts competition.

Consequences

PMN’s lawyer, Jan Magne Juuhl-Langseth in Schjødt, says he believes the veto contravenes Article 11 of the EEA agreement by limiting free movement of goods within the area.

“This case raises interesting questions that haven’t been tried before, either in Norway or by any EFTA or EU courts,” he tells Dagens Næringsliv.

The EEA agreement does allow states to intervene in matters where they believe it’s in the interests of public health. Juuhl-Langseth says this is exactly what they are challenging.

“The burden of proof rests with the state.”

Ineffective

“Display bans have had no impact on reducing smoking in the countries that have implemented them, a fact acknowledged by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services,” says Edwards.

A similar ban was also introduced on Iceland in 2001.Edwards claims there’s no indication it has worked, a fact acknowledged by the Ministry of Health and Care Services in the legal run-up to the prohibition.

“Iceland prohibited public display of tobacco products in 2001. The percentage of smokers in the Icelandic population (at 15 years of age and above) has sunk from 25% in 2001 to 20% in 2005. However, there are no indications to prove that this reduction is a result of the ban, more than other tobacco preventive measures introduced at the same time," writes Philip Morris in a press release, quoting the Hearing Notice from the Health and Care Service Department from March 2007.

Similar bans have been introduced in Ireland, all Canadian provinces, and the Australian State of New South Wales. The company has also filed a lawsuit against Irish authorities.

Supportive

Siri Næsheim at the Directorate of Health says experience so far has shown the ban is working well. The Ministry of Health and Care Services has already looked into the legal issues in relation to the EU and EEA.

PMN says it isn’t against some form of restriction, but is challenging the veto on the grounds that it violates the EEA agreement.  

“We fully support tobacco product regulation and effective measures to prevent minors from smoking. However, we believe that the government should focus on proven measures such as strict enforcement of the minimum age law and education campaigns,” says Anne Edwards.

The lawsuit will be filed at Oslo District Court. As part of the filing, PMN is seeking referral of the case to the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) Court in Luxembourg.




Published on Tuesday, 9th March, 2010 at 11:12 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: philip, morris, tobacco, products, ban, display, norway, norwegian, state, iceland, canada, ireland.



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