Lucky Strikes banned for breaching advertisement laws

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Court rules descriptions on the packs as tobacco advertising and gives distributor 48 hours to stop import of cigarettes.

22 April 2008

PARIS - A French court Monday gave the country's top tobacco distributor 48 hours to stop importing Lucky Strike cigarettes, ruling that the packs carried unlawful advertisements for smoking.

Altadis Distribution, a branch of tobacco giant Imperial, will be fined EUR 100 for every pack supplied to retailers past the two-day deadline, under a fast-track legal ruling handed down in Paris.

France's National Committee Against Smoking (CNCT) took legal action against the cigarettes' manufacturer, British American Tobacco (BAT), and the French distributor, for breach of France's code of public health.

Lucky Strike packs sold in France included descriptions of the cigarettes' "subtle" aromas, or "fresh and original" flavours, deemed to be a form of tobacco advertising, according to the ruling.

A separate French court reached a similar ruling in March 2007, but without pronouncing a ban.

Yves Trevilly, head of institutional relations at BAT, said the company planned to appeal against the ban, but had taken immediate steps to comply in the meantime.

Retailers will be allowed to sell off their existing stock, the company said.

[APF / Expatica]

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