Uruguay - Supreme Court dismissed a constitutional challenge by PMI..

Uruguay was first South American
country to ban closed public smoking..

November 25, 2010 - Uruguay's Supreme Court on Friday, November 19th dismissed a constitutional challenge brought by tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) that disputes the tiny South American country's anti-tobacco laws. "The complaint of unconstitutionality is unanimously rejected," the court said in its decision on Uruguay's restrictions on smoking and tobacco products, the first of their kind in Latin America, introduced in March 2006.

It is ‘an essential duty of the state… to adopt all measures it considers necessary to maintain the collective health [of its citizens],’ said the court.

According to official data, the smoking population in Uruguay has dropped from 32 percent in 2006 to 25 percent this year. One study showed the number of heart attacks has fallen by 17 percent in the same period.


Uruguay - PMI believes reports on cases misleading and omit important facts...

November 17, 2010 - Mayor Bloomberg made the donation to help Uruguay's anti-smoking groups fend off lawsuits brought on by the massive tobacco corporations. He said his money "will assist Uruguayan government officials by providing legal research and expertise, launching public education mass media campaigns, and galvanizing world support and public opinion." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives $500,000 to defend anti-smoking laws in Uruguay..;

November 15-20, 2010 - The fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is being held at the conference centre of the Conrad Hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay. The President Jose Mujica spoke at the opening of a summit and described described Uruguay as a "laboratory of confrontation" with Big Tobacco. Philip Morris International Inc. is pursuing a claim before World Bank arbitrators alleging that Uruguay is violating its trade agreement with Switzerland by requiring that anti-smoking warnings cover 80 percent of cigarette packages. (Uruguay - WHO FCTC meeting of the parties, Nov. 15th - Nov. 20th..)

Earlier this year PMI filed for arbitration at the World Bank's international centre for settlement of investment disputes (ICSID), claiming the restrictions hurt its business and violated Uruguay's trade deal with Switzerland. (Uruguay - has promised to water down anti-smoking laws after pressure from the tobacco giant Philip Morris International)

Independent summary of PMI's claims: Uruguay: Philip Morris files first-known investment treaty claim against tobacco regulations by Luke Eric Peterson, 3/3/2010.

More: Part Three: Uruguay vs. Philip Morris Tobacco Giant Wages Legal Fight over South America’s Toughest Smoking Controls..

Euromonitor: Tobacco in Uruguay..
References: PMI fails in Uruguay challenge, Tobacco Reporter, 11/25/2010; Uruguay court dismisses Philip Morris tobacco challenge, AFP, 11/20/2010.