UK court rejects challenge against smoking report
LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Britain's High Court on Tuesday dismissed a challenge by the tobacco industry against a government report on the dangers of passive smoking.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association (TMA) said they were not consulted by the report's authors as promised and argued that it should not be used by the government when framing anti-smoking legislation.
But judge Anthony Hidden rejected the groups' claims that the report's findings were unlawful. He said the report, by the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH), had been part of an ``on-going'' consultative process and contained a number of recommendations already in the public domain.
``The report should not be...susceptible to judicial review,'' Hidden said.
The report By SCOTH, which was set up as an advisory group in 1994, found that passive smoking caused numerous medical problems including childhood respiratory disease, mouth and pharynx cancer and heart problems.
The TMA, which represents major tobacco manufacturers Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher, Rothmans (UK) and British American Tobacco Investments, argued that in light of such claims they should have been consulted before its conclusions were accepted by the Health Secretary.
In dismissing the charge, Justice Hidden said he considered the function of the SCOTH had been to advise, not to decide, and its report was only a stage in an ongoing decision-making process.