A big focus of John Oliver’s piece on the tobacco industry was how huge tobacco companies are fighting small nations trying to impose plain packaging laws for cigarettes.
Oliver’s piece specifically talked about Australia, which won its court case against Big Tobacco, Uruguay and Togo. Here’s another country in a similar battle — Ireland.
Ireland has been threatened with litigation by Japan Tobacco International for a law requiring plain packaging on tobacco products.
From this article:
James Reilly, (minister for children and youth affairs) who introduced the bill as health minister last July but has since become minister for children and youth affairs (although he still has command over passing the bill through parliament), added: “The Irish government will put the health of its citizens first. It won’t be intimidated by external forces.”
Good for Ireland for standing tall. Togo was forced to cave in light of a billion-dollar lawsuit. Uruguay is another tiny country that doesn’t have much resources to fight Big Tobacco.
Weirdly enough, JTI is threatening to file its lawsuit before the law is even passed. It’s still winding its way through the Ireland Parliament, but JTI wants to sue to have the bill stopped by the Court of Justice of the European Union until a case is heard from England regarding tobacco trademarking.
Similar pushes for plain packaging are a no-go in the U.S. due to conflicts with the First Amendment.