Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris International is afraid that its profits will drop if countries like Uruguay kept putting scary images on cigarette packs. So it is pushing Uruguay for allowing more eye-pleasing packaging of its cigarette packs.
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Philip Morris International went to the court against the country of Uruguay in 2010 with the complaint that Uruguay’s anti-smoking laws were too much for they required some 80 percent of every cigarette pack to carry warnings against smoking’s health effects as well as images of such effects. Thus in Uruguay, you see decaying teeth and other “bad” health-related images on cigarette packs.
Philip Morris claims that Uruguay’s policy on cigarette packaging is in violation of the 1991 trade agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland.
Anti-smoking, pro-health and pro-awareness advocates stand by Uruguay in this conflict. A petition on Avaaz International asks the Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) – which is hearing the complaint of Philip Morris vs Uruguay – to rule in favor of Uruguay. Titled “Big Tobacco’s deadly attack”, the petition is accompanied with the image of a child smoking a cigarette. It reads: “It’s a scary reality that one company, whose product kills, could overturn laws that protect our public health.”
Meanwhile, today, Forbes wrote that Philip Morris is likely to see a fall in profit in the first quarter of the current year. This comes after two quarters of decreased profit in last year of the company’s business.