7-Eleven and the tobacco manufacturer House of Prince have been accused for violating the Danish law on the prohibition of tobacco advertisement
The Danish Consumers Ombudsman has considered the placement of boxes containing and showing tobacco products from House of Prince behind the cash register of the 7-Eleven stores unlawful and in violation of the Danish law on prohibition of tobacco advertisement.
139 7-Eleven stores in Denmark have been using the boxes between 2012 and March 2016 to show tobacco products manufactured by House of Prince, which has lead the Danish Consumers Ombudsman to file a police report on the 3 November 2016 against both 7-Eleven and House of Prince.
The police report regards the use of the tobacco-boxes to highlight the cigarette packages manufactured by House of Prince. The Danish law on prohibition of tobacco advertisement section 3(1) prohibits any advertisement regarding tobacco products. It is only allowed to display tobacco in a neutral manner or show price labels for tobacco products at places where tobacco is sold, see section 3(3).
The Danish Consumers Ombudsman, Christina Toftegaard Nielsen, estimates that the use of the luminous layout, the size and the overall design of the cigaret-box entails a marketing effect which is not permitted, cf. section 3(4). In accordance to section 2(1) of the law, every act with commercial aim which has the purpose of promoting the sales of tobacco products is considered by the law to be marketing.
7-Eleven and House of Prince do not agree with the decision. Nevertheless the looks of the tobacco-boxes have been changed in consultation with the Consumers Ombudsman and are no longer in violation of the law.
Currently the police are investigating and the case can subsequently be assigned to the prosecuting authority. If the case leads to court proceedings 7-Eleven and House of Prince risk a fine, see the Danish law on prohibition of tobacco advertisement section 7.
The Ombudsman has filed a police report in regards to advertisement of tobacco products in violation of the Danish law on prohibition of tobacco advertisement before. In 2005 House of Prince won a case based on a police report filed by the Ombudsman. The circumstances of the case were firstly that the tobacco manufacturer had written girl and boy names on the front of their cigarette packages and secondly that they had put the cigarette boxes on display inside a pixy-glass holder with a sign saying "Can be brought at the bar" at various cafes and bars. The District Court acquitted House of Prince of all charges and it was decided that the two circumstances were not a violation of the law.