A German court ruled on Friday that a popular US tobacco company cannot continue marketing its cigarettes as "organic". The court order says that such a marketing gimmick amounts to misleading consumers and gives way for unfair competition. The company, however, maintains that its cigarette complies with all EU regulations on organic products.
The regional court in this northern city said that Santa Fe Natural Tobacco may no longer sell its Natural American Spirit brand with the label "organic filter cigarettes", a spokeswoman told AFP.
"The concept 'organic' implies that such a cigarette is not harmful" and thus violates national tobacco and business competition laws, she said.
The company, whose German unit is based in Hamburg, says its cigarettes are made with "100 percent organic tobacco" and biodegradable paper filters and complies with EU rules for organic products.
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco is a unit of Reynolds American, formerly known as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings.