Statement by Michael R. Bloomberg on Philip Morris International v. Uruguay Decision

JUL. 08, 2016

Today, after six years of litigation, Uruguay successfully defended its tobacco control laws from a legal challenge by Philip Morris International at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration panel of the World Bank. Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners provided financial support and technical assistance to the Uruguayan government’s legal team. The ICSID determined that the Philip Morris suit had no merit and that Uruguay’s laws, which mandate large, graphic health warning labels on cigarette packs and restrict brand usage to a single presentation, do not violate the bilateral investment treaty under which Philip Morris filed the challenge. Uruguay’s laws were designed according to evidence that has demonstrated that strong warning labels spur smokers to quit and stop non-smokers – especially youth – from starting to smoke. Today, youth smoking in Uruguay is at 8 percent, down from 23 percent in 2007.

Michael R. Bloomberg commented:

“This is a major victory for the people of Uruguay – and it shows countries everywhere that they can stand up to tobacco companies and win. Governments should always be able to protect people's health and safety, and we're committed to helping them when tobacco companies try to stand in the way. No country should ever be intimidated by the threat of a tobacco company lawsuit, and this case will help embolden more nations to take actions that will save lives."

Mike Bloomberg on Tobacco Control as Philanthropist & Mayor: The tobacco epidemic kills more than six million people every year. Mike Bloomberg has been a strong advocate for tobacco control as a philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, he has invested more than $600 million to implement proven tobacco control policies around the world, including support to Uruguay’ s legal efforts since 2010. Recognizing the need to support countries in future legal challenges, Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the $4 million Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund in 2015, which aims to combat the tobacco industry’s use of international trade agreements to threaten and prevent countries from passing strong tobacco-control laws.


An international leader on public health and the WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, Mike works to create better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.


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