Smoke and Lawyers

In a response to Big Tobacco’s strategy to stall tobacco laws in the courts, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have poured $4 million into a fund to help low and middle income countries fight back.

While tobacco companies have argued that such laws violate trade and investment treaties, tobacco opponents say the threat of litigation is making countries reluctant to pass new legislation.

Namibia, Gabon, Togo and Uganda have been warned by tobacco companies about laws that are not in accordance with treaties. Bloomberg Philanthropies is also helping Uruguay defend itself.

“The fact that there is a fund dedicated to taking on the tobacco companies in court sends a message that they are not going to get a free ride. If they say that’s not a lot of money—yes, well, take a look at who’s behind it,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, and a benefactor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which publishes GHN.
The New York Times

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