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Nobleza Piccardo v. Provincia de Santa Fe [Argentina] [October 27, 2015]

Nobleza Piccardo, a BAT affiliate, challenged the constitutionality of a sub-national law that established a complete ban on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship in the Province of Santa Fe. The tobacco company argued that this measure violated freedom of expression and commercial freedoms and that sub-national governments were not entitled to legislate in these matters. The Argentine Supreme Court ruled in favor of the sub-national tobacco control law, finding that this ban was a reasonable restriction of commercial freedoms. Considering the impact of tobacco use, the Court connected these measures to be obligations derived from the right to life and the right to health. With regards to freedom of expression, the Court found that commercial speech is not entitled the same level of protection as political or social speeches. The Court also understands that health is an area of concurrent power and thus shared by both the federal and the sub-national governments. Notably, even though Argentina has not ratified the FCTC, the Court uses it as an international standard for tobacco control policies. 

FIC Argentina v. Buenos Aires City Government [Argentina] [August 15, 2014]

A tobacco control NGO sued the Buenos Aires city government arguing that the lack of implementation of the local tobacco control law, with regards to smoke-free environments, violated the right to health. Furthermore, considering the violations of the law were higher in places like bars and night clubs, the NGO argued that workers in those places had lower standards of protection of their right to health. The judge rejected the lawsuit considering there was no illegal or arbitrary act from the local government. In addition, the judge stated that courts should not replace political decisions.

Nobleza Piccardo S.A.I.C. y F. v. Tierra del Fuego Province [Argentina] [February 27, 2007]

The plaintiff tobacco company challenged the constitutionality a Provincial law that imposed local taxes for services needed to verify the legitimacy and origin of certain tobacco products coming into the province of Tierra del Fuego for the consumption of its population. The plaintiff argued that the tax was merely an additional local tax imposed on the consumption of cigarettes to fund a public infrastructure project and that it functioned like a local tariff, which is prohibited by Federal law.  Taxes on cigarettes and other harmful substances can only be imposed if the resources are used to directly cover costs for these, but not to fund public infrastructure or carry out any other functions. The plaintiff claimed that the nation, and not the province, had competence to regulate its products. The Argentinean Supreme Court ruled that the local tax was unconstitutional because it is the nation that has exclusive competence and that a company could not be taxed twice for the same use.

Massalin Particulares S.A. v. Tierra del Fuego Province [Argentina] [March 21, 2006]

The plaintiff (a tobacco company) challenged the constitutionality of Article 9(5)(4) of Provincial Law No. 440, incorporated via Article 4 of Provincial Law No. 566, which imposed local taxes for services needed to verify the legitimacy and origin of cigars and cigarette products coming into the province of Tierra del Fuego, for the consumption of its population. The plaintiff argued that the tax was merely an additional local tax imposed on the consumption of cigarettes to fund a public infrastructure project and that it functioned like a local tariff, which is prohibited by Article 11 of the Magna Carta of Argentina.  Taxes on cigarettes and other harmful substances can only be imposed if the resources are used to directly cover costs for these, but not to fund public infrastructure or carry out any other functions. The plaintiff claimed that the Nation, and not the province, had competence to regulate its products. The Argentinean Supreme Court ruled that the local tax was unconstitutional because it is the Nation that has exclusive competence and that a company could not be taxed twice for the same use.

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