British American Tobacco vs the Government of Namibia

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In Namibia, the country’s biggest tobacco seller, British American Tobacco (BAT), is reportedly threatening the Government with legal action over a new bill that will force cigarette companies to print graphic health warnings on packaging.1
Under the Tobacco Products Control Act of 2010, packs will have to carry photographs of stained teeth and damaged lungs with appropriate warnings underneath the picture.
BAT claims that:

  • the proposed legislation will expropriate BAT’s intellectual property
  • it will undermine the company’s right to free expression prevent the company from “freely communicating to consumers the nature of the lawful products on offer”1
  • there is no evidence that the legislation will work
  • it will lead to increased smuggling.

References

  1. ab‘Namibia: Tobacco Firm Threatens Lawsuit’, AllAfrica.com, 16 November 2011, accessed 16 December 2011