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France and UK join Australia as plain packaging leaders

Congratulations to France and the UK, which on 20 May 2016 join Australia as countries that have adopted plain packaging for tobacco products.

Plain packs are free of colours and all other branding, except for the manufacturers’ name written in a uniform plain style. Plain, or standardised, packaging is recommended in the tobacco control treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

In France and the UK, all packs manufactured after 20 May 2016 must be in plain packages. In France it will be an offence to sell branded tobacco packages after 1 Jan 2017. In the UK, plain packs must be on retail shelves by 20 May 2017.

Ireland on the way

A start date has not yet been set for plain packaging to come into force in Ireland.

As you’ll see on the map, many other countries are working towards plain packaging, despite predictable, costly legal challenges from the tobacco industry.

The Government of Australia, which adopted plain packaging in 2012, faced multiple lawsuits from Philip Morris, within the country and via an international investment agreement. The industry lost them all.

Industy ‘airily dismisses’ research

On 19 May 2016 a UK High Court rejected an industry challenge to plain packaging. The judge damned the evidence presented by the industry because it largely “ignores or airily dismisses the worldwide research and literature base which contradicts evidence tendered by the tobacco industry; and, is frequently unverifiable”.

Japan Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco have already said they will launch suits against the French Government’s plain packaging law.

Get ready for plain packaging is the theme for World No Tobacco Day 2016 (31 May). On our website you’ll find resources for tobacco control advocates and information about what FCA members are doing to get ready.

– See more at:

No good news on packaging regs

The European Court of Justice has backed the EU Tobacco Directive and told producers of packaging for tobacco products that they cannot use fancy substrates, designs or techniques to differentiate brands following the plain packaging requirement that comes into force on 20 May.

One such firm is Amcor, whose designs include the ‘scissor’ pack, which opens sideways to reveal hidden branding.

The directive will also ban packs of 10 cigarettes, rolling tobacco in packs under 30g and all menthol cigarettes, from 20 May 2020. Packs across the EU are required to have health warnings across 65% of their surface.

Meanwhile, the sector is on tenterhooks awaiting the decision of the UK High Court in an intellectual property case brought by Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

Many businesses due to be affected by the legislation are reserving comment until the decision comes through but the mood is not good. In Australia, which introduced plain packaging in December 2012, a similar high-profile and very expensive legal battle between the Australian government and tobacco titans did not go the tobacco lobby’s way.

Mike Ridgway of the Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance says: “A lot of printing will be badly affected by the implementation of plain packaging. Plain packaging means standardised packaging doing away with branding and ID, having health warnings and an olive green background with a small font.

“It’s not just graphics, it’s the construction and the substrates. There’s no hot-foil stamping, no embossing, graining or anything that gives the pack any sort of particular graphical marketing characteristics.”

While the plain packaging law, barring a last-minute reprieve by the court, will be introduced in the UK, Ireland and France, the EU directive affects all EU states. Any converter who has decided to make up for lost printing income through focusing on packaging shape, will find itself at the mercy of a double whammy.

Ridgway, a former Chesapeake Branded Packaging executive, adds: “I’m a non smoker; I just think it’s excessive regulation and there’s no proof it works, from a packaging and printing point of view it’s affecting tins, pouches, the whole packaging industry. They have really got issues.”

The pro-plain packaging lobby, however, claims Australian cigarette packs which feature large, gory photographs, do work.

Research by the Cancer Council, published in the medical journal Tobacco Control last year, found 20% of smokers were trying to quit the month before the ban and 27% the month after.

UK substrate manufacturer API is one company that was actively targeting tobacco packaging and at Packaging Innovations at London’s Olympia in September last year, cigarette packets featuring its signature Fresnel Lens PET laminate took pride of place on its stand. API also produces foils used on the front of cigarette packs and the plain packaging legislation has “badly knocked” its business, according to Ridgway.

Printed tobacco packets will not suddenly disappear from shelves. Retailers have a year for ‘sell-through’ and the introduction of standardised packaging could also produce opportunities for creative businesses.

When the Australian ban was introduced in December 2012, enterprising label printers, including Box Wrap and Stickerette, decided to print sticker covers for cigarette boxes.

Stickerette has patented its whole pack wraps and now calls itself a global brand which aims to increase sales in the UK and the US under its ‘Your Pack – You Decide’ slogan.

The standardised plain pack design can be produced litho or even digitally, according to Ridgway.

Parkside, Amcor and Multi Packaging Solutions are among the packaging firms likely to be hit. The latter prints cigarette packets on gravure. Amcor Tobacco Packaging president Jerzy Czubak said the legislation posed “a real risk” to consumers.

“Standardised packaging lowers barriers of entry into the tobacco market, leading to de facto creation of scale benefits for criminal organisations trading in counterfeit tobacco. Consumers are exposed to hazardous contents in illicit tobacco products and there will be a limited capacity to authenticate and differentiate between products.

“Amcor Tobacco Packaging believes that standardised packaging represents an unnecessary intervention into not only tobacco, but also packaging in general – a legitimate and essential industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.”

Another gravure printer which is likely to be affected by the rules is Benkert. Its Alva, Clackmannanshire plant prints the paper which goes around cigarettes.

“Our argument has always been that if you take complexity out of the packs you’re opening the market up to illicit trade,” Ridgway says. “Over £2bn is lost through tax revenue losses per year through counterfeiting. That’s £8m a day. This business about increasing price is just not going to help. The projection is that by 2020 a packet of  cigarettes will be £20 and 14% of trade will be illicit.”

Countefeiting also concerns the BPIF. General manager at BPIF Cartons Neal Whipp, says: “BPIF Cartons supports any packaging initiative that has been proven to improve public health by reducing smoking. However thus far we have not seen sufficient evidence to this effect and so there is a risk that plain packaging may make matters worse by facilitating more counterfeit products at lower prices.”

Another fear is that the incoming rules will have a knock-on effect, in other countries and in terms of other sectors coming under the plain packaging microscope.

Alcohol is the obvious contender but concerns, espoused by the anti plain-packaging fraternity at least, is that fatty and sugary foods could also be in the firing line, as a way to be seen to be doing something to appease the health lobby.

The government claimed sound reasons for pressing ahead with plain packaging. In 2012-13 it spent £87.7m on services to help people stop smoking. It says the new packs will save lives and, in addition, money. Public Health England estimates a £500m healthcare saving if the fall in smoking seen in Australia is mirrored here.

So why not ban them completely? In 2014-15 the government received £9.5bn in revenue from tobacco tax and that excludes VAT. So we have a compromise which benefits some, but packaging printers and converters least of all.

Tobacco Firms Lose Packet Legal Challenge

The European Court of Justice dismisses the final legal challenge to EU rules which aim to stop youngsters from starting smoking.

Europe’s highest court has rejected a legal challenge by tobacco firms against standardised packaging rules for cigarettes.

The ruling, at the European Court of Justice, essentially dismissed complaints that changes to EU laws went beyond what was necessary on health grounds.

It also paves the way for member states to impose further requirements such as plain packaging measures proposed in the UK, France and Ireland.

In addition, the ruling removes legal barriers to the banning of menthol cigarettes from 2020 and also electronic cigarette advertising.

The updated Tobacco Products Directive will take effect on 20 May though cigarette retailers will have a year to sell off their remaining stocks before the standardised packaging rules take effect.

They are designed to make the cartons less attractive to youngsters – with health warnings more prominent and covering 65% of a packet.

The EU hopes the move will cut smoking numbers by 2.4 million and prevent 700,000 premature deaths.

A separate legal challenge by tobacco firms against UK Government plans to remove all branding from cigarette packs is due to be heard on 18 May at the High Court and could be subject to appeal.

The packaging case against the EU was brought to by Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro, and the firm behind Rothmans and Benson & Hedges, British American Tobacco.

They argued that the bloc was abusing its authority.

But the ruling said: “The court finds that, in providing that each unit packet and the outside packaging must carry health warnings … the EU legislature did not go beyond the limits of what is appropriate and necessary”.

The Directive was due to be introduced in 2014 but was held up in the courts.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the anti-smoking charity Ash, welcomed the ruling.

She said: “We (now) await the UK court judgement, which is expected shortly, but we are optimistic that the court will confirm that the introduction of standardised packaging in the UK is lawful.

“From 20 May, all packs manufactured for sale in the UK will have to be plain, standardised, in the same drab green colour with the product name on the pack in a standard font”.

A spokesman for British American Tobacco said: “The reality is that many elements of the directive are disproportionate, distort competition and fail to respect the autonomy of member states.”

Doubts rise over TTIP as France threatens to block EU-US deal

French president rejects trade pact in current form as lead negotiator blames Washington for impasse a day after leak revealed ‘irreconcilable’ differences

Doubts about the controversial EU-US trade pact are mounting after the French president threatened to block the deal.

François Hollande said on Tuesday he would reject the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership “at this stage” because France was opposed to unregulated free trade.

Earlier, France’s lead trade negotiator had warned that a halt in TTIP talks “is the most probable option”. Matthias Fekl, the minister responsible for representing France in TTIP talks, blamed Washington for the impasse. He said Europe had offered a lot but had received little in return. He added: “There cannot be an agreement without France and much less against France.”

All 28 EU member states and the European parliament will have to ratify TTIP before it comes into force. But that day seems further away than ever, with talks bogged down after 13 rounds of negotiations spread over nearly three years.

The gulf between the two sides was highlighted by a massive leak of documents on Monday, first reported by the Guardian, which revealed “irreconcilable” differences on consumer protection and animal welfare standards. The publication of 248 pages of negotiating texts and internal positions, obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, showed that the two sides remain far apart on how to align regulations on environment and consumer protection. Greenpeace said the leak demonstrated that the EU and the US were in a race to the bottom on health and environmental standards, but negotiators on both sides rejected these claims.

The European commission, which leads negotiations on behalf of the EU, dismissed the “alarmist headlines” as “a storm in a teacup”.

But Tuesday’s comments from the heart of the French government reveal how difficult TTIP negotiations have become.

France has always had the biggest doubts about TTIP. In 2013 the French government secured an exemption for its film industry from TTIP talks to try to shelter French-language productions from Hollywood dominance.

Hollande, who is beset by dire poll ratings, indicated on Tuesday that the government has other concerns about TTIP. Speaking at a conference on the history of the left, Hollande said he would never accept “the undermining of the essential principles of our agriculture, our culture, of mutual access to public markets”.

Fekl told French radio that the agreement on the table is “a bad deal”. “Europe is offering a lot and we are getting very little in return. That is unacceptable,” he said.

The director of Greenpeace EU, Jorgo Riss, said the French president’s concern was “unsurprising given that the commission is clearly not following the mandate it was given by EU countries to protect European environmental and health standards”.

The question marks over TTIP are a setback for the British prime minister, David Cameron, who last year vowed to put “rocket boosters” under the talks as he described TTIP as “a deal we want”. But Barack Obama has made it clear that the UK would not get any special treatment if it left the EU and tried to negotiate a separate trade deal. On a visit to London last month, the US president said the UK would be at “the back of the queue” in any post-Brexit trade talks.

The most recent round of TTIP negotiations took place last week, where EU and US officials reiterated that they hoped to reach a deal in the second half of 2016, before Barack Obama leaves the White House next January.

Talks began in July 2013, but rapidly became bogged down amid widespread public concern on both sides of the Atlantic. Reducing tariffs is only a small element of the trade pact. The most contentious issues centre on aligning consumer and environmental standards and opening up markets to transatlantic rivals.

How might Big Tobacco react to a rise in cigarette excise?

There now appears to be bipartisan recognition in Australia of the political stench of cigarettes. Labor governments have taken a dim view of smoking for at least a decade, but now even the Liberal Party is joining the attack.

As the campaign donations from the tobacco industry dry up, the Turnbull government has set its sights on a product that, thanks to its unfortunate tendency to kill off its natural constituency, makes for an obvious target. The government is expected to announce a rise in tobacco excise in the coming federal budget.

The current taxation debate is just a small part of a much wider effort to curb smoking rates. And with every successful legislative change in Australia, other nations are increasingly emboldened to take on an industry once considered too politically powerful and dangerous.

Australia’s plain-packaging laws are already viewed as a model for Ireland, the UK and France. Its taxes – among the highest in the world – have routinely been shown to cut smoking rates to historic lows. Its citizens now overwhelmingly accept bans on passive smoking.

Still, Big Tobacco will never give up its fight against regulation and taxes. It knows that for every day it delays change, it saves millions in profits. As such, it relies on tactics of deceit, delay and frustration, which it has developed and refined over half a century.

But it also knows that it can’t make its argument directly. Instead, it relies on rhetorically gifted proxies. To that end, Big Tobacco has collaborated with a global web of friendly lobby groups, researchers and free-market think-tanks, such as the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Each proxy is expected to push an agenda, such as suggesting that research on tobacco smoke is “junk science” and critics of tobacco are “biased”.

Once the research has been completed, there are always media outlets willing to dutifully repeat the industry’s claims, which are used to build a narrative of the “nanny” state repeatedly kicking the mature and informed smoker.

Capitalism and freedom – for smokers

In the West, the freedom-of-choice argument has been at the heart of most of Big Tobacco’s campaigns since the 1970s. It’s a powerful idea, but it deliberately ignores the issue of child and passive smoking.

As such, Big Tobacco primarily relies on the argument that the state is trampling on personal liberty. When plain-packaging laws were being debated in Australia in 2010 – the first such laws in the world – the industry and its allies leapt into action.

The resultant advertising campaign was designed to portray the government and anti-smoking campaigners as part of a “nanny state” that was determined to tell adults how to live their lives.

An anti-plain-packaging advertisement.

(Stuck in) Nineteen Eighty-Four

The liberty argument may be a legitimate point of debate. But Big Tobacco also contended that plain-packaging laws would fail to deter people from smoking.

The IPA pointed out the tremendous monetary value of packaging, and Australia’s vulnerability to legal challenges that would cost billions of taxpayer dollars.

But, later, a senior IPA member released a study that showed spending on tobacco products had – controlling for other factors – increased following the plain-packaging laws’ passage.

Writers in the Murdoch press reported both stories, unaware of their contradictory nature.

Media Watch on how the plain-packaging studies were reported.

(Big Tobacco’s) crime and punishment

Another line of attack suggests that high taxes on cigarettes cause crime.

In 2015, the tobacco industry commissioned KPMG to study the effects of cigarette taxes on smuggling and black market sales. Unsurprisingly, the report said exactly what the tobacco industry wanted it to – going so far as to suggest that one in seven cigarettes smoked in Australia were smuggled.

As with all industry-funded “research”, government critics were keen to regurgitate the findings.

This is a distraction tactic. It is true that very high taxes, or a prohibition, will create a black market. It is also beside the point of plain packaging – which is to reduce smoking, while allowing for some free choice, provided it is informed and adult. Such laws have proved successful to that end.

The tobacco industry, insisting that we look anywhere but at them, wants to repaint a health issue as a law-enforcement one.

However, the tobacco industry is deeply hypocritical on smuggling. It systematically floods key foreign markets with its product, in turn facilitating smuggling in Western markets. The tactic allows it to claim plain-packaging laws and taxes cause the same crime it creates.

The heart of darkness

Big Tobacco fights in this way because of what it stands to lose.

So, the industry of death continues to exact its toll. It knew that people died from smoking and passive inhalation decades before it conceded the point. It knew of children taking up smoking – it even helped them do so. It complains of smuggling while being the biggest source of the problem.

Big Tobacco does these things because it is afraid. Imagine the profits lost should other countries adopt similar messages. Tens of billions every year are at stake.

In the tobacco wars, the strategic importance of Australia is critical. Big Tobacco will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure moves to quell smoking fail.

Effects of plain package branding and graphic health warnings on adolescent smokers in the USA, Spain and France



The purpose of this study is to provide an experimental test of the effects of plain pack branding and graphic health warnings (GHWs) in three different countries for an important and vulnerable population, that is, adolescents who are experimenting with smoking.


The effects of plain pack branding (logo present, logo absent), and graphic visual warning level (absent, low, medium, high) are studied experimentally for their impact on adolescent cigarette craving, evoked fear, pack feelings and thoughts of quitting in the USA, Spain and France. A total of 1066 adolescents who were experimenting with smoking served as participants in the study. A quota sample produced 375 respondents in the USA, 337 in Spain and 354 in France.


Overall findings indicate that the GHWs were effective in impacting adolescent cigarette craving, evoked fear, pack feelings and thoughts of quitting. The plain pack effects were not as strong, yet reduced craving, increased fear, and decreased pack feelings for all three samples combined, and for US adolescent smokers individually, irrespective of the GHWs. For French adolescent smokers, plain pack effects for craving were limited to low/moderate GHW levels. For Spanish adolescent smokers, plain pack feeling effects were limited to the absence of the GHWs.


The results show that plain packs can independently strengthen the more instantaneous, direct effects (short of quitting thoughts) found with the GHWs. Yet, the plain pack results were attenuated for Spanish and French adolescent smokers, who are currently exposed to GHWs.

France orders plain packaging for cigarettes; Japan Tobacco to appeal

PARIS – France published a decree on Tuesday that requires cigarette manufacturers to introduce plain packaging by the end of the year.

Japan Tobacco International immediately said it would challenge the measure.

The publication of the decree was the culmination of government efforts launched in 2014 to require tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in packages decorated with neither logos nor distinctive coloring.

But Japan Tobacco International’s French subsidiary quickly announced it would challenge the decree before the Council of State.

“The introduction of plain packages doesn’t take into account the damage it does to the property rights of companies, in particular intellectual property rights,” JTI France’s Corporate Relations and Communications Director Benoit Bas said in a statement.

That is the argument tobacco companies have used against the introduction of plain packaging in Australia.

In 2012, Australia became the first country to mandate plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to reduce smoking rates, and is being followed by Ireland and Britain as well as France.

The British ban on logos and branding on cigarette packets goes into force in May, but tobacco firms have filed a legal challenge.

The appeal by JTI before the Council of State, the nation’s supreme court for administrative justice, will not suspend the introduction of plain packages.

Tobacco firms lost their legal cases in Australia and failed to have the matter accepted for international arbitration.

They also failed to overturn an EU law allowing member states to impose plain packaging.

France votes for plain cigarette packaging from 2016

Cigarettes will be sold in logo-free packaging from May 2016, despite objections from the conservative opposition and tobacconists

Cigarettes in France will be sold in plain packaging under a law that was finally passed in parliament on Thursday despite objections from the conservative opposition.

Starting in May 2016, the brand name will appear but in a small, uniform typeface and packets will be shorn of logos.

With backing from the ruling Socialists and the Greens, the text finally came into law after mainly conservative senators added amendments to the draft that was first voted in April, which would allow the brand name to appear in small letters.

The senate had initially demanded that the neutral packaging clause be removed from the draft legislation.

Around a quarter of French adults indulge in the hazardous habit, according to the World Health Organisation, and one third of teenagers also smoke.

Nine years ago, France controversially banned smoking in enclosed public spaces, including bars and restaurants.

And only last month, Paris authorities doubled fines for dropping cigarette butts to 68 euros (£50/$75) in a city where some 350 tonnes of them are collected annually.

Last year, health minister Marisol Touraine estimated some 13 million people still light up in France and that smoking accounts for around 78,000 deaths, the leading cause of premature death in the country.

All cigarettes will from May next year have to be sold in neutral packaging of uniform size and colour in a move that is notably similar to legislation adopted in Australia three years ago.

The United Kingdom and Ireland have since followed suit.

It’s Been A Bad Year For Big Tobacco

Cigarette companies found themselves the targets of tighter regulations and lawsuits.

Anti-smoking activists have for years targeted the global behemoths that control the tobacco industry — and this year they made headway. Some of the largest tobacco companies suffered financial and PR setbacks in a series of lawsuits, and anti-smoking initiatives worldwide are further curbing their power.

Here are the losses big tobacco suffered this year:

Packs of Philip Morris International Inc. Marlboro Menthol cigarettes in the new packaging are arranged for a photograph at a tobacco store in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Tobacco products complying with the world?s first plain-packaging laws have started arriving in stores, as an Oct. 1 manufacturing ban on the country's A$10 billion ($10 billion) tobacco industry comes into force. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Packs of Philip Morris International Inc. Marlboro Menthol cigarettes in the new packaging are arranged for a photograph at a tobacco store in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Tobacco products complying with the world?s first plain-packaging laws have started arriving in stores, as an Oct. 1 manufacturing ban on the country’s A$10 billion ($10 billion) tobacco industry comes into force. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Australia Can Keep Its Plain Cigarette Packaging

The Australian government won a major lawsuit against Philip Morris this week. It can continue using plain packaging — logo-less packaging that is the same for all tobacco brands — on cigarette packs sold across the country.

Australia introduced “the world’s toughest laws on tobacco promotion” in 2011, according to then-health minister Nicola Roxon. That year the government voted to implement packaging that, instead of logos, displays the frightening illnesses associated with smoking.

Philip Morris Asia unsuccessfully sued the Australian government in 2011, claiming that the law violated a trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong.

The UK, France and Ireland Will Use Standardized Packaging, Too

Several countries have followed suit on Australia’s anti-smoking measures. Britain and Ireland approved plain packaging laws in March.

France’s parliament also approved a law Thursday that will place plain packaging on all cigarettes sold in the country starting in May 2016. The products’ brand name will only appear in small type.

The country has made several attempts to diminish its large number of smokers. In 2008, it prohibited smoking in enclosed public spaces like restaurants and bars. In October, the city of Paris also raised the fine for dropping a cigarette butt into the street to 68 euros.

Boston Raises Age For Buying Tobacco To 21

Boston’s board of health voted last week to raise the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 in an effort to prevent teen smoking.

Boston followed the lead of many other cities and towns across Massachusetts that had already increased the age limit. “These changes send a strong message that Boston takes the issue of preventing tobacco addiction seriously,” Boston mayor Marty Walsh said.

New International Trade Laws Block Tobacco Companies From Suing Countries

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 countries in the Pacific Rim, ruled in October that tobacco is exempt from Investor-State Dispute Settlement rules. In other words, tobacco companies will no longer be able to challenge TPP member countries’ anti-smoking measures the way that Philip Morris did in Australia in 2011.

Anti-tobacco lobbyists and a few senators helped make it happen. “It was time to take action to get trade agreements to stop treating tobacco like it’s just another product and the tobacco industry like any other business,” said Gregg Haifley, federal relations director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The FDA Forced One Tobacco Company To Stop Selling Several Products

The Food and Drug Administration banned R.J. Reynolds from selling four different types of cigarettes in September — Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13 cigarettes.

The company changed the product ingredients so that they no longer complied with a 2007 federal health law, The Hill reported. The products “fail[ed] to meet the public health bar set forth under law,” explained Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

A Jury Imposed $35 Million In Damages On That Same Tobacco Company

R.J. Reynolds was also at the center of a lawsuit in Florida after Garry O’Hara, a U.S. Air Force sergeant who earned the Bronze Star, died of lung cancer in 1996, at the age of 50. O’Hara’s family’s lawyers argued that the company masked the risks associated with smoking for years.

A Florida jury awarded the family $34.7 million in damages in September.

The company tried to argue that the executives responsible for decisions at the time are no longer around. “The R.J. Reynolds leadership that you heard about, they’re gone. … Those people who stood up before Congress and raised their hand, they’re gone,” David Monde, a lawyer for R.J. Reynolds, said in court.

Shady Activity Uncovered Within A Big UK Tobacco Company

The BBC conducted an investigation into British American Tobacco and found that the company bribed politicians and civil servants in East African countries in an effort to “undermine anti-smoking legislation.”

One BAT employee, the BBC said, illegally paid a civil servant in Burundi in exchange for a copy of the country’s Tobacco Control Bill.

The BAT said it was the target of false accusations.

“Our accusers in this programme left us in acrimonious circumstances and have a vendetta against us, clearly demonstrated by the false picture they present of how we do business,” it said in a statement.

The company could face prosecution in the U.K. and the U.S.

Three Cigarette Companies Ordered To Pay CA $15 Billion To Canadian Smokers

Two separate lawsuits, filed by Canadians sickened from smoking and Canadians unable to quit smoking, culminated in the country’s biggest class-action lawsuit to date.

Three tobacco companies — Imperial Tobacco; Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and JTI-Macdonald — were accused of lying to consumers about the health risks associated with their products. They were ordered earlier this year to pay $15 billion (about $10.8 billion USD) to the plaintiffs.

All three companies said they planned to appeal the decision, claiming that Canadians are well-versed in the risks of smoking.

Parliament passes plain-pack law

Parliament narrowly voted approval of a law to strip branding from cigarette packaging and require manufacturers to adopt a unitary pack design from May 2016, Euronews reported.

Legal action by tobacco companies is possible, the French-based multilingual broadcaster said on its website. Introduced by Health Minister Marisol Touraine, plain-packaging aims to discourage youth from taking up the smoking habit and reduce smoking, the main cause of death in France, Euronews said.

France joins Ireland and the United Kingdom among European Union countries opting for plain packaging in addition to 65 per cent health warnings on packaging that will be introduced throughout the EU next May.