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The Union welcomes the Court of Arbitration's decision to force Philip Morris Asia to pay the Australian Government's legal costs, estimated at AUS$50 million, for its failed case against the country's pioneering plain packaging laws.

The order, published this weekend, criticised the case as an 'abuse of rights' and found the tobacco firm liable for Australia's legal costs – which included court and solicitors' fees, expert witnesses expenses and travel.

Philip Morris and other tobacco giants have fought Australia's innovative legislation to reduce tobacco use since it was first introduced in 2011. In this case Philip Morris claimed that the policy on plain packs contravened trademark law, but lost in December 2015.

Plain or standardised tobacco packaging bans all branding and misleading terminology such as 'light' and 'low tar'. It requires all packs to have the same drab colour background, with large harrowing images of the health consequences of smoking, as well as large written warnings. The legislation is a powerful public health intervention found to discourage young people from taking up smoking, and encouraging smokers to quit.

In response to the court ruling, The Union made this statement:

"Australia continues to demonstrate fearless leadership in tobacco control. This decision sees the Australian Government again breaking new ground for policies designed to reduce tobacco use and the devastation it causes to health and economic well-being. Governments around the world will now be encouraged to take similarly bold steps and introduce strong policies that prioritise the health of citizens above the interests of the tobacco industry. We congratulate the Australian Government on this significant outcome – and for its commitment to this vital work in the face of a powerful and intimidating industry. We urge leaders around the world now to follow suit," said Dr Gan Quan, Director of The Union's Department of Tobacco Control.

Read more about tobacco packaging.


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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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