Phillip Morris prepared to sue UK government over plain packaging

The UK government said it wanted to bring in plain packaging to cut down the incidence of children taking up smoking

Phillip Morris, the manufacturer of seven tobacco brands including Marlboro has announced it is prepared to "seek fair compensation" through the courts should its branding be affected.

The law intends to package cigarettes with graphic health warnings and plain packaging.

In a response to the Government’s decision, the company said: “Phillip Morris International (PMI) is prepared to protect its rights in the courts and to seek fair compensation for the value of its property.”

The UK government said in April that the law was created to improve public health by discouraging people from smoking, and hopes to cut down on the amount of children taking up smoking.

It also hopes the public will spend their money elsewhere.

It published draft rules in June, and launched a six-week consultation that ended last week.

In its submission to the Department of Health, Philip Morris said the value of compensation it would seek could total “billions of pounds”.

It quoted a 2014 Exane BNP Paribas report, which estimated the value of compensation for tobacco branding in the UK could be between £9bn and £11bn.