Tobacco manufacturers have warned that standardised packaging could be applied to non-tobacco brands, after they lost an appeal against a ruling that backed plain packaging legislation.
The appeal was brought forward by firms including British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and JTI following the High Court’s ruling in May, which said plain packaging regulations were lawful. Manufacturers argued that the new regulations were in breach of UK and EU law, as they destroyed property rights by making brands indistinguishable.
Today, three judges at the Court of Appeal stood by the High Court’s decision, ruling that the Health Secretary had “lawfully exercised his powers” by introducing plain packaging law.
Daniel Sciamma, UK managing director of JTI, warned that allowing the legislation to go forward would put other product categories at risk.
“We obviously disagree with the court’s decision as it endorses the confiscation of our brands,” he said.
“We have repeatedly argued that plain packaging is unlawful and will not achieve the claimed effect of reducing smoking. It is not working in Australia: the decline in smoking rates hasn’t accelerated since plain packaging was introduced nearly four years ago and the black market has grown.
“This commercial vandalism sets a dangerous precedent for other targeted industries, who must be concerned that their brands will now be under threat.
“We are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
An Imperial Tobacco spokesperson said: “We note today’s judgment from the Court of Appeal. We will take our time to review the judgment before considering our legal position.”
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