Tobacco giant Philip Morris can join challenge over ban on smoking alternatives

Tobacco Giant Philip Morris Can Join Challenge Over Ban On Smoking Alternatives
Christian Mark Woolfenden, UK and Republic of Ireland MD of Philip Morris Ltd, said the group is "committed to replacing cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives". Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
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High Court reporters

Tobacco giant Philip Morris has been given permission to be joined in a High Court challenge to a new EU directive banning flavoured heated tobacco products which promoters say are an alternative for smokers who don't quit.

Last January, Ireland's oldest tobacco manufacturer PJ Carroll and Co and an associate company launched the challenge against the Minister for Health, Ireland and the AG.


On Wednesday, three companies in the Philip Morris Group - the UK-based Philip Morris Ltd, Philip Morris Products SA of Switzerland and Philip Morris Manufacturing and Technology, Bologna, Italy - applied to be joined as notice parties, so they could also oppose the action.E

The respondents had opposed the application saying it was not clear that the outcome of the PJ Carroll proceedings would have any material impact on Philip Morris' business in Ireland. This was because Philip Morris does not currently sell flavoured tobacco heated products here but, the court heard, it intends to do so.

PJ Carroll consented to the application, the court heard.

Replacing cigarettes

Christian Mark Woolfenden, UK and Republic of Ireland MD of Philip Morris Ltd, said in an affidavit seeking to be joined to the case said the group is "committed to replacing cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives".


Philip Morris is one of the leading global manufacturers of heated tobacco products, with and without flavours, which are marketed and sold under brand names including HEETS and TEREA, he said.

In 2022, the group shipped approximately 39.5 million units of such products to the EU, UK and Switzerland. British American Tobacco and Philip Morris represent almost the entire volume share of heated tobacco products sold within the EU, he said.

His group has invested $10.5 billion to develop and commercialise the products which now represent around 32 per cent of its total revenues, he said.

The group submitted a notification to the Department of Health and HSE in 2017 that it intended to place heated products on the Irish market. While it is not on the Irish market at the moment, the group has a presence on this market with other products.


Heated tobacco products represent a "steadily growing focus" of the group to place HEETS and potentially other similar products, including flavoured ones, on the Irish market in the future, he said.

The proposed ban, which is due to be transposed into Irish law in July, will prohibit the sale of flavoured products entirely, he said.

His group had a "substantial and direct interest" in this challenge and "in upholding their continuing freedom to place these products on the Irish market", he said.

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Mr Justice Charles Meenan was satisfied Philip Morris met the test to be joined to the they were very clearly affected by the matter.


However, they would be allowed to do so on terms including that their involvement will not lead to the lengthening of the trial. This meant the PJ Carroll companies will have to cede some of the time they would normally be given to make the case, he said.

He also said that if the case is successful Philip Morris will have to bear its own costs and if it fails the State parties would be entitled to an award of costs against the group.

He adjourned the matter to July for hearing.

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