Investor-State Dispute Settlement and Tobacco Control: Implications for Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Consumption-Control Measures
Public health advocates and policy makers have long considered how to translate the successes of tobacco control measures to address alcohol abuse and the excessive consumption of ultra-processed and nutrient-poor foods. Correspondingly, the strategies adopted by tobacco companies to prevent or delay regulation often parallel those adopted by the alcohol and food industries. Philip Morris, a leading tobacco company, has recently used investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms as a new strategy to hinder or prevent tobacco control measures in the form of plain packaging requirements. The cases that followed may have implications for the development of novel consumption-control measures, like plain packaging laws, aimed at preventing non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. This paper considers how the challenges to tobacco control measures through ISDS mechanisms could affect the development of consumption-control measures aimed at reducing alcohol abuse and unhealthy food consumption for non-communicable disease prevention. Using the recent ISDS challenges by Philip Morris as case studies, this paper draws out lessons and issues for the future development of consumption-control measures.
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