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Legal strategies block tobacco laws

| December 13, 2013

Tobacco companies are pushing back against a worldwide rise in anti-smoking laws using a little-noticed legal strategy to delay or block regulation, according to a story by Sabrina Tavernise for the New York Times.

Tavernise quotes health advocates and officials as saying the industry is warning countries that their tobacco laws violate an expanding web of trade and investment treaties, raising the prospect of costly, prolonged legal battles.

The strategy is said to have gained momentum in recent years as smoking rates in rich countries have fallen and tobacco companies have sought to maintain access to fast-growing markets in developing countries.

Industry officials were quoted as saying that there were only a few cases of active litigation, and that giving a legal opinion to governments was routine for major players whose interests would be affected.

But tobacco opponents, according to Tavernise, say the strategy is intimidating low- and middle-income countries from tackling one of the gravest health threats facing them.

Tavernise’s story is at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/health/tobacco-industry-tactics-limit-poorer-nations-smoking-laws.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131213&tntemail0=y&pagewanted=all&_r=0.

Category: Breaking News

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