The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law
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The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

Edited by Andrew D. Mitchell and Tania Voon

Tobacco use represents a critical global health challenge. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year, with the toll expected to rise to 8 million annually over the next two decades. Written by health and legal experts from institutions around the globe, The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law examines the key areas of domestic and international law affecting the regulation of tobacco.
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Chapter 11: Tobacco control in Europe: the potential for plain packaging

Peter K. Henning and Leonid Shmatenko


The caption was done in distinctive cigarette-pack typeface, ‘Hysterica Bold’, they called it at the office. It said, WARNING: SOME PEOPLE WILL SAY ANYTHING TO SELL CIGARETTES. Ever since it was scientifically proven that smoking harms your health, legislators around the world have tried to enforce stricter tobacco control policy on the grounds of public health. Tobacco manufacturers, on the contrary, try to undermine this policy. The newest trend in tobacco control policy is the so-called plain packaging, a package with a standardised appearance containing large health warnings. Trademarks, logos, etc, are not allowed. Canada was the first government to try to introduce plain packaging in 1994. The introduction failed due to concerns regarding the trademark rights of the tobacco manufacturers. Concerns regarding violations of obligations under the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement, in particular, caused the Canadian Government to abandon the plans. A few years later, the United Kingdom wanted to introduce plain packaging. However, almost the same considerations led to the cancellation of these plans. Additionally, the British Government considered that the measures would possibly violate the prohibition on restrictions on free movement of goods within the European Union (EU) pursuant to article 34 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). On 28 November 2013, however, the British Department of Health requested an independent review of the current public health evidence on plain packaging.

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