Europe’s Highest Court maintains its Stand on New Restrictive Law on Cigarettes

Published Date : May 04, 2016

The highest court of Europe has upheld a restrictive law that will force manufacturers to standardize packaging, restrict advertising of e-cigarettes, and bring a complete ban on menthol flavored cigarettes by 2020 in a recent hearing. The decision will help pave the way for the adoption of the law, called the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and is projected to deal a huge blow to many big tobacco companies.

Cigarette giants British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris International had recently legally challenged TPD; the legal challenge, which was also supported by Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco International, was rejected by the European Court of Justice on Wednesday and cannot be taken any further now. TPD will take effort in Europe on 20 May but wholesalers and retailers will be given a year’s time to sell off stocks that were manufactured before the date the law comes in action.

The strict measures by Europe in its attempt to clamp down on a habit that leads to over six million deaths every year across the globe, has set an example for other governments across the globe as well.

Tobacco Products Directive in Europe will lead to a complete ban on menthol flavored cigarettes by the year 2020, will force manufacturers to stick to a standardized packaging, and will impose several strict rules on e-cigarettes, such as the marketing and advertisements, tank size, and nicotine strength.

However, analysts have mixed views regarding the actual impact of enforcing standardized packaging on cigarettes. Major companies state that the new rules will affect several markets to varying degrees and will lead to an increase in illicit cigarette business.

Consumers will clearly make different choices owing to some of the changes in the market, but in what ways is still unclear owing to limited precedent, in regards especially to the matter of standardized packaging. The impact of standardized cigarette packaging has been demonstrated only in Australia so far, where after one year of implementation in the country, the sales of premium and mainstream brands saw a decline, but the demand for value brands increased, suggesting that cigarette smokers switched to cheaper alternatives.