Health Ministry loses misguided prosecution

Stuff reports:

A judge has sided with tobacco giant Philip Morris in ruling non-burning tobacco sticks Heets can be legally sold in, and imported into, New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health laid two charges against Philip Morris New Zealand last year over the sale and importation of the tobacco sticks, which are heated in an electronic device called IQOS to release nicotine.

The ministry argued Heets fell into the category of tobacco products designed for oral use other than smoking, and were prohibited under Section 29 of the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990.

But Judge Patrick Butler dismissed the charges in the Wellington District Court on Tuesday, ruling the product fell outside that scope.

It was a silly prosecution that was trying to punish a company for selling a product 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

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