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Sri Lanka Tobacco Company Against Cigarettes Labeling

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tobacco Company, a unit of British American Tobacco has gone to the court of appeal against new labeling ordinances by the island’s health ministry which requires graphic labeling. “Given that the matter is before court and the outcome of the same is unclear, we cannot determine and therefore comment on the potential results of or effects thereof on the company’s future prospects at this point in time,” the firm declared in a stock exchange filing. Sri Lanka’s new cigarettes labeling regulations were published in August by the health ministry, with manufactures having to fulfil within three months.

They require companies to have pictures of a heart patient in a hospital with the message ‘Smoking Causes Heart Disease’, pictures of cancer victims with the message ‘Smoking Causes Cancer’ and a baby with the message ‘Your Smoking Makes kids ill.”

“No packet, package, carton or even label of any tobacco product shall contain any message which is false, misleading or deceptive concerning the effects or hazards on health from the use of any smoking product or from any emission increasing out of the use of any smoking product,” the rules reported.

Companies were banned from having words such as ‘low’, ‘light’, ‘ultra’, ‘mild’ or ‘extra’ that could create an impression that such a product was not harmful.

Health agencies, starting from US surgeon general’s office under Luther Terry, a former John Hopkins University professor and the World Health Organization have been in the forefront on the battle against tobacco use. Tobacco was a product ‘discovered’ by the rest of the world after European explorations of the American continent, where native Amerindians were discovered to use the tobacco.

Its widespread use came with the invention of the cigarettes making machines by James Albert Bonsack in 1880 which made them less expensive. Until then hand rolled cigs and cigars had been a so-called luxury item.