A pile of cigarettes

An international legal finding against Philip Morris has confirmed the right of states to regulate tobacco, vindicating Australia’s leadership on plain packaging legislation and clearing the way for other countries to implement similar regimes.

The award released on Friday brings to a close a six-year dispute between the global tobacco giant and Uruguay, with an arbitral tribunal upholding Uruguay’s right to do two things: prohibit tobacco companies marketing cigarettes in ways that falsely present some cigarettes as less harmful than others, and require tobacco companies to use 80% of the front and back of cigarette packs for graphic warnings of the health hazards of smoking.