01.10.2013

The packaging and ingredients of cigarettes and other tobacco products will be subject to tougher EU regulation. This is the gist of today's vote of the European Parliament on the new EU Directive on tobacco products. "This is good news for health protection. Europe is the region in the world with the highest percentage of smokers. 700,000 people are said to die from tobacco consumption in the EU every year. As representatives of the citizens, we need to protect health and young people", said Karl-Heinz Florenz MEP who is in charge of the Tobacco Products Directive for the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

"Tobacco-related diseases are a burden for our healthcare systems. I would have preferred stricter measures, but I welcome the fact that thanks to the EPP Group, we managed to avoid inappropriate steps such as a call for the introduction of plain packaging", Florenz continued. Parliament is calling for the introduction of 'shock photos' and for warning labels to be increased to 65 percent of the front and back of the packaging. MEPs called for a transition period for the ban of menthol and want e-cigarettes to be treated as tobacco products rather than as a medical drug.

The ingredients of tobacco products will be subject to stricter standards. A so-called positive list of substances shall determine which ingredients can be used and which are banned. "There are a lot of hazardous chemicals blended into the tobacco, such as vanilla flavour, to make it taste better and render the whole product as such more attractive. Such a practice really ought to be banned", said the EPP Group MEP.

"People want stricter measures, and scientists and health organisations do recommend them. The new Tobacco Products Directive will be finalised next year despite the intensive and tough lobbying of the tobacco industry which was aimed at delaying and frustrating the decision-making", concluded Florenz. Negotiations between Parliament and Council on the final wording of the Directive will start in autumn. The coming into force of the Directive is expected for 2014.

"While the TPD addresses many important facets of public health I fear that it also infringes on the rights of our citizens while preventing them and their Member States from determining what tobacco products can and can’t be sold. I am concerned that historically traditional products that are used in certain Member States are in danger. In saying that, I want to emphasize that I support the pursuit of protecting the youth of this Union, however adults should retain their right to purchase products that have long been part of their culture. Also, certain bans, such as those outline in this directive, have an imposing effect on our internal market and subsequently, impedes our ability to not only improve the economics of certain Member States but also reduces our ability to control, and or, regulate the sale of tobacco products on the black market, which are, without a doubt, going to drastically increase given the restrictions but forth by the TPD" commented Jarosław Wałęsa.

© Jarosław Wałęsa 2015. Wszelkie prawa zastrzeżone.
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