BAT UK is challenging the decision by the High Court last month to uphold the EUTPD 11 (European Tobacco Products Directive) on plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco.
Imperial Tobacco has also strongly expressed its concerns while leading delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey maintains that new legislation will complicate life for independent retailers and weigh heavily on their income.
A BAT UK spokesman said: “The decision by the English High Court is by no means the final word on the lawfulness of plain packaging. We believe the judgement contains a number of fundamental errors of law, and we are applying for leave to appeal against the decision.
“It is important to appreciate that a UK decision is not a precedent for other governments to introduce plain packaging.
“No two jurisdictions are the same and any government considering plain packaging will need to ensure that it complies with the fundamental rights of businesses relevant to that country and be mindful of the World Trade Organisation dispute on plain packaging, which is still ongoing.”
Duncan Cunningham, Imperial Tobacco’s UK & Ireland head of corporate & legal affairs, said: “It will take some time to digest the substance of the decision in full and then decide as to whether there are appropriate grounds for appeal or not.
“As a responsible business, our focus remains on ensuring the success of our customers through the supply of compliant products.
“While the new regulations affect pack sizes (no more packs with fewer than 20 cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco pouches less than 30g) and branding, the initial deadline (19 May) principally affects tobacco manufacturers.”
Cunningham referred to the fact that retailers could still sell tobacco products in the present formats until 20 May 2017.
Palmer and Harvey managing director Martyn Ward said that some store owners were not ready for what he described as “the biggest change to tobacco regulation in living memory”.
He added: “There are fears that the new rules will mean extra complexity, higher cost and lower footfall.”
Tel: BAT UK 020-7845 1000
Tel: Imperial Tobacco (0117) 963 6636
Tel: Palmer & Harvey (01273) 222100