The UK’s second largest cigarette seller Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has filed a lawsuit against the government’s decision to introduce mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products.
The move comes on the heels of lawsuits filed by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco.
The tobacco companies argue that the introduction of plain packaging could be a breach of trademark law in the UK and European Union.
If the tobacco sector succeeds in the legal battle, the government is expected to pay close to £11bn in compensation.
JTI UK managing director Daniel Torras was quoted by Financial Times as saying: "We have clearly and repeatedly made clear to the UK Government that plain packaging will infringe our fundamental legal rights without reducing smoking.
"Despite the lack of evidence that plain packaging works, the government has decided to proceed and JTI must now protect its rights in the courts."
When put into effect in May next year, the new packaging standard will require companies to sell cigarettes in standardised, unbranded packaging.
Under the proposed law, the companies must ban all forms of branding on the packets, including logos and colours.
The products must have a uniform packaging with graphic health warnings.
Image: The new packaging standard will require companies to sell cigarettes in plain packs. Photo: courtesy of hinnamsaisuy via freedigitalphotos.