Turkey - cigarette producers sue to reduce size of graphic images..

December 7, 2009 - The National Cigarette and Health Committee (SSUK) legal advisor Turgut Kazan has announced that tobacco manufacturers PhilSA, Philip MorrisSA and British American Tobacco (BAT) have filed a lawsuit with the Council of State (highest administrative court in the Republic of Turkey) to shrink the mandatory size of new graphic images which will be obligatory to print on cigarette packages starting on January 1, 2010. Previous news brief on Turkey - graphic/written warning labels starting January 1, 2010.

The companies complain that the requirement of putting images on the front of cigarette packages in an attempt to reduce tobacco consumption by exposing the adverse consequences of smoking will prevent competition in the sector. The images necessitated by the regulations must cover at least 65 percent of the packages, the companies note, arguing that this will make it virtually impossible to put their brand logos on the packages. The companies also argue that the new obligation infringes on their commercial freedoms as bestowed by international trade rules.

Kazan said the Thorax Association, which includes doctors who specialize in eye diseases within the SSUK, will be involved in the case as an interested party. “The tobacco companies have demanded a stay of execution before. The case is in the Council of State’s docket currently,” Kazan noted. He claimed that the regulations are not in conflict with rules of competition or any relevant international laws, adding that they had full confidence that the Council of State will settle the case accordingly.

SSUK President Elif Dağlı also argued that the graphic images covering 65 percent of the packages does not contradict EU standards, which she claimed allows these images to cover more than 50 percent of cigarette packages. “It would be unacceptable to deprive Turkey of its right to protect its public health while other countries are conducting similar campaigns without any obstacle,” she noted. She said selling tobacco products in embellished, attractive packages is very harmful. Currently, 22 million people in Turkey are smokers, she asserted, adding that $20 billion is spent on tobacco products. “This money is being completely burned away and lost. Not only is our money lost, but people’s health is also seriously harmed,” she said and added that another $30 billion is lost in terms of health expenditures to cure smoking-related diseases. Dağlı also rejected claims from tobacco companies that the images have no deterrent effect on smoking, saying, “All studies have proven that these images are very effective indeed and cause a nearly 5 percent decline in cigar cigarette consumption.

Reference: Cigarette producers sue to reduce size of graphic images, Today's Zamen, 12/7/2009.

Turkey - related news briefs:
WHO to unveil new 2009 tobacco epidemic report in Turkey..;
Turkey - graphic/written warning labels starting January 1, 2010..;
Turkey - with expansion of smoking ban cigarette sales drop..;
Turkey - smoking ban, cafes (teahouses) losing business, owners threaten to strike..;
Turkey - hundreds of cafe owners demonstrate against smoking ban..;
Turkey - small--scale retailers to demonstrate against smoking ban..;
Turkey - anti-smoking advocates happy with early results of smoking ban..; Turkey - smoker wounds manager and kills his friend when asked to stop smoking..
Turkey - cafe owners complain about smoking ban..;
Turkey - dangers of secondhand smoke media campaign..;
Turkish Government - makes major move to improve the health of its citizens..;
Turkey - smoking ban starting July 19th will be enforced - these guys are serious..;
Turkey - poll indicates employers, their employees and customers support smoking ban in cafes, bars and restaurants..;
Turkey - July 19th total smoking ban, will employees lose jobs..;
Turkey - on July 19, 2009 will mark the beginning of “100 percent smoke-free air” in this country..;
Turkey - national smoking ban starts July 19, 2009..;
Turkey - quit smoking photo displayed in İstanbul's Taksim Square..;
Turkey - data on tobacco usage - Turkish Statistics Institution..;
Turkey - smoking ban in all bars, restaurants and coffeehouses starting July 19, 2009..;
Smoking ban in Turkey lowers cigarette consumption..;
Turkey's ban on pubic smoking goes into effect on Monday, May 19, 2008..;
British American Tobacco (BAT) reported group volume sales up for first quarter 2008..;
More on the quick fix for outdoor smokers..;
BAT to Acquire Most of Denmark's ST..;
More on Philip Morris International of the Future..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008...