In the past couple of hours it has been announced that British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International have filed suit in the English High Court to contest recently introduced standardized packaging regulations for tobacco products. Imperial Tobacco is expected to follow suit. A spokesperson from our Department of Health said
"We will not allow public health policy to be held to ransom by the tobacco industry. Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death in England, killing 80,000 people every year. We would not have gone ahead with standardised packaging unless we had considered it to be defensible in the courts".
While this is currently a UK problem, I imagine the outcome will send a message one way or the other to governments around the world. Personally I find the idea that these huge wealthy companies can sue governments for trying to protect the health of their nation quite obscene - particularly in this case where they will still be allowed to sell the actual product itself. They sicken me. What do you think? Here's the news item for anyone interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32843205