Sunday, November 14, 2010
Cigarette Giants in a Global Fight on Tighter Rules
November 13, 2010
As sales to developing nations become ever more important to giant tobacco companies, they are stepping up efforts around the world to fight tough restrictions on the marketing of cigarettes.
Companies like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco are contesting limits on ads in Britain, bigger health warnings in South America and higher cigarette taxes in the Philippines and Mexico. They are also spending billions on lobbying and marketing campaigns in Africa and Asia, and in one case provided undisclosed financing for TV commercials in Australia.
The industry has ramped up its efforts in advance of a gathering in Uruguay this week of public health officials from 171 nations, who plan to shape guidelines to enforce a global anti-smoking treaty.
This year, Philip Morris International sued the government of Uruguay, saying its tobacco regulations were excessive. World Health Organization officials say the suit represents an effort by the industry to intimidate the country, as well as other nations attending the conference, that are considering strict marketing requirements for tobacco.
Uruguay’s groundbreaking law mandates that health warnings cover 80 percent of cigarette packages. It also limits each brand, like Marlboro, to one package design, so that alternate designs don’t mislead smokers into believing the products inside are less harmful.
The lawsuit against Uruguay, filed at a World Bank affiliate in Washington, seeks unspecified damages for lost profits.
Posted by Yulie Foka at 12:14 PM