LONDON (Reuters) - British American Tobacco
"We expect a hearing in December," Jerome Abelman, BAT's director of legal and external affairs, told reporters on Wednesday, adding that "whatever the decision, there will likely be appeals."
Britain adopted a law in March that would prohibit tobacco products from being sold with any branding, colors or logos. This "plain packaging" rule, aimed at reducing the lure of smoking particularly to youngsters, will go into effect in May 2016.
BAT and larger rival Philip Morris International
Abelman said it was hard to judge exactly how long its challenge will take to move through the court system but said it was possible that any appeals could be decided by the end of 2016.
He said he thought the British government should grant a stay to the implementation of plain packaging pending a final decision.
Separately, BAT said it would do a market test this year of a next-generation product that heats tobacco without burning it. It declined to give any details about the product or the test.
Its announcement comes a day after U.S. tobacco company Reynolds American
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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