British American Tobacco has described as disappointing a decision by the UK High Court to reject an appeal against a law introducing standardized packaging for cigarettes.
The company said it was considering its options, which include an appeal to the Supreme Court.
“Despite today’s decision, we remain firm in our belief that plain packaging is an ineffective policy that doesn’t work to reduce smoking levels – and it’s important to remember this decision by the Court of Appeal is not an endorsement of the effectiveness of this measure,” a BAT spokesperson said.
BAT said that it remained concerned that, in upholding the original decision, the Court of Appeal had made many of the same fundamental errors of law as the original judge. “These are issues of significant constitutional and commercial importance which, if left unchallenged, would have serious implications for other legitimate businesses and for the ability of the government to act first and justify later when it comes to regulation,” the spokesperson said.
“Today’s decision is disappointing. However, it does not necessarily mark the end of the challenge and given the importance of this issue, we are considering our options carefully.
“It’s important to point out that this decision is not a green light for governments to introduce plain packaging, and those considering it must first ensure that the measure complies with the fundamental rights of businesses in their country, as well as with their international law obligations. Governments should also take note that the World Trade Organization dispute on plain packaging is still ongoing.”
The appeal was brought by BAT, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International, and Philip Morris International.