Tobacco companies challenge legality of plain packets
Some of the largest tobacco companies in the world have have gone to the high court. They want to argue against the legality of the new rules around plain packaging for cigs. These new regulations will come into play next May, which will see an end to logos and branding on all things tobacco.
We actually think that these new rules won't change much, and that there'll be money to be made by selling cigarette cases separately, just like everyone had in the '50s.
Either way, Mr Justice Green is going to be asked to rule on the lawfulness of the new measures, after Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International challenged the decision. The health secretary Jeremy Hunt is going to be the one arguing that they are in fact lawful.
At the start of the hearing, David Anderson QC, for Japan Tobacco International, told court: “The claimants manufacture products which are lawful, which contribute approximately £10bn per year in excise duty alone for the UK exchequer, which are used by some 19% of the adult population, and which the secretary of state … has never sought to ban.”
Talking about the legal submissions, the QC said Jeremy Hunt was "quite wrong when he says that we are trying to protect our ability to market unencumbered by legitimate legislation", and added that the tobacco industry was "regulated in a way almost unprecedented in any other field."
This will rumble on, and we'll keep you up to speed with the goings-on, if we could have twos on that fag, first.