In a welcome move, courts in India and European Union has upheld the usage of big pictorial warnings on cigarette packs.
Report from India:
The Supreme Court told tobacco companies on Wednesday they must adhere to a new central rule requiring much larger health warnings on cigarette packs, in a major setback for the $11 billion industry that opposes the new policy.
The Supreme Court turned down a plea to stay implementation of the new rules introduced from April 1, which require health warnings to cover 85 per cent of a cigarette pack’s surface, up from 20 per cent earlier.
In a packed courtroom, a two-judge bench rejected the industry’s plea to extend a stay it had obtained from a Karnataka court but agreed to a request to move the rest of the appeals to the Karnataka court.
“You have duty towards the society,” the judges told a team of industry lawyers, which included some of the most expensive advocates in the country.
The industry “should not violate any rule prevailing as of today”, they said.
EU court report :
The EU’s highest court has ruled in favour of tougher rules on cigarette packaging.
The case is the result of a legal challenge by two major tobacco firms.
The new rules, agreed by EU governments, standardise cigarette packets.
Health warnings will have to cover 65 percent of the packaging.
The rules also ban commercials for e-cigarettes.
They will kick in on May 20th.
The firms had argued that the EU legislation was disproportionate and excessive.
But that argument was rejected by judges in Luxembourg.
This is in sharp contrast to the stand taken by US courts, which in 2012 held that requirement of such pictorial warnings are an infringement on rights of free speech.
Studies comparing text warnings with pictorial warnings have clearly shown that pictures are much more effective in curbing smoking.
Will the Judiciary in the USA become wiser seeing these reports ?