Big tobacco’s £500m threat to Scottish Government

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THE tobacco industry is ready to sue the Scottish Government for up to £500 million in damages if plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes go ahead.

It’s understood the figure has been privately briefed to MSPs by tobacco giant Philip Morris, based on the loss of intellectual property rights.

While the firm will not publicly threaten legal action, court cases are under way in Australia, where plain packaging has been introduced, making the prospect of similar action in Scotland “likely”, according to company sources.