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Norway court deals a blow to tobacco companies

Philip Morris took the Norwegian government to court over the ads, arguing that it violated a free trade agreement that implicates Norway and the European Union.

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A Norway court upheld a ban on tobacco store displays, delivering a defeat to cigarette companies. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A Norway court has upheld a ban on store displays for tobacco products in a blow to cigarette companies.

Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, took the Norwegian government to court over the ads, arguing that it violated a free trade agreement that implicates Norway and the European Union.

The cigarette-maker, which the court ruled against, said that it would appeal.

Reuters said that the court decided that the ban did not consitute a violation of the free trade agreement.

It also said that the ban was necessary due to public health reasons.

Philip Morris was, needless to say, unhappy with the ruling.

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"We are disappointed with the court's decision and are considering our options for appeal," said Nordan Helland, a spokesman for Philip Morris Norway, reported USA Today.

Norway's health ministry said that the ruling had put public health over profits.

"We are glad that the court has decided that looking after people's health is more important than the profits of the tobacco industry," said Tord Dale, political advisor to the Norwegian Health Minister, reported Reuters.

Numerous other countries are considering similar bans, including Canada, India and the United Kingdom.

Britain has already implemented a similar ban among large vendors.

The Associated Press said that this isn't a first for Philip Morris.

The tobacco company has challenged laws in many countries that impose marketing restrictions, including most recently in Uruguay and Ireland.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120914/norway-court-deals-blow-tobacco-companies