THREE tobacco companies - Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and Japan Tobacco - have failed in an action in the European Court of First Instance to have the European Commission's decision to open civil actions against them in New York annulled as illegal under EU law. The US actions allege that the companies are involved in cigarette smuggling and other illegal activities in the EU. The European court said the decisions by the Commission "did not themselves have any final legal effect on the tobacco companies."

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