Shopping for cigarettes in Uruguay isn’t a pleasant experience. Photos of decaying teeth, premature babies and gruesome hospital scenes wrap around every pack of pack. In fact, the country requires manufacturers to cover at least 80 percent of the packaging with medical warnings and graphic images.
Cigarette giant Philip Morris International sees this requirement as a violation of a treaty law. So it’s suing the country of Uruguay for $25 million.
The lawsuit is based on a 1991 trade agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, where the company is located. The cigarette manufacturer says says Uruguay is violating its promise to respect intellectual property rights.
Studies have found that such gruesome packaging reduces smoking, particularly in pregnant women.
To better understand this case before it goes in front of the World Bank this month, NPR’s David Greene spoke with Alexandra Hall, a reporter based in Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo.
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