The world’s largest tobacco company Philip Morris had sued Norway and twelve other countries in a total of 23 trials. The lawsuit against Norway was a consequence of the ban on display of tobacco products since 1 January 2010.
The company believes this is contrary to the EEA Agreement and it restricts competition.
– We are not satisfied with the ruling of the Oslo District Court, says communications manager of Philip Morris Norway, Nordan Helland to NTB.
He said the company will now look at the judgment carefully and consider the possibility of an appeal. He also noted that the total consumption of tobacco has been unchanged since the ban was introduced.
About the ban on Tobacco Products in Norway
In an attempt to cut impulse buys of tobacco products and to further reduce smoking rates, five countries (Australia, Canada, Iceland, Ireland and Norway) have recently banned the display of tobacco products at the point of sale.
Norway prohibited tobacco-product advertising in 1973 and in 2009 further legislation was adopted banning the visible display of tobacco and smoking devices, except in dedicated stores. Philip Morris’s Norwegian unit challenged the ban in an Oslo court, which in 2010 asked for the European tribunal’s guidance. The court’s rulings apply to non-European Union members Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
“A measure banning the visual display of tobacco products, such as the one at issue, by its nature seems likely to limit, at least in the long run, the consumption of tobacco” in Norway, the European Free Trade Agreement tribunal in Luxembourg had ruled in September 2011.