75. Tobacco Products Directive: Will the Council Vote on the Right Side?

On 14th March 2014, the Council will vote on the revised Tobacco Products Directive. After three years in the making, endorsing the EU’s tobacco products directive should be top of the Council’s ‘to-do-list’.

On 26th February 2014, the European parliament approved a better fit for purpose European regulation on tobacco.

The new tobacco products directive (TPD), with larger pictorial and text health warnings and a ban on flavoured cigarettes, will upgrade the obsolete 13 year old EU tobacco legislation.

While this renewed directive does not set global standards on public health protection when it comes to tackling the tobacco epidemic, it does allow member states to go further, if they wish to do so.

“While this renewed directive does not set global standards on public health protection when it comes to tackling the tobacco epidemic, it does allows member states to go further, if they wish to do so”

The measures adopted today by the parliament are supported by a solid body of evidence showing how these features encourage smokers to give up and discourages non-smokers from starting.

Tobacco smoking is a public health monster that kills around 700,000 people every year in Europe – an enormous number of people comparable to the population of cities like Frankfurt or Seville.

.

In order to protect the lives of thousands of European inhabitants, public health threats like tobacco and smoking related harm must become a priority in the agendas of our policymakers. This matter is arguably not always fully grasped in today’s political decision-making.

This vote comes after a long and bumpy road plagued by obstacles and delays caused by vested economic interests, like the tobacco industry’s intense lobbying to weaken and delay this directive.

As a result, this TPD falls short of matching the higher standards of public health protection around tobacco that other countries have set – such as Australia.

For example, the parliament reduced the size of warnings on the tobacco package from 75 per cent to 65 per cent and mandatory plain packaging did not even make it into the original European commission’s proposal.

Tobacco packaging is the last weapon in the hands of the tobacco industry to lure specific demographics – slim cigarettes target women and coloured packaging is appealing to children, both of whom are increasing users of tobacco, especially in central and Eastern Europe. This new TPD will make tobacco packages less attractive to these demographic groups.

The TPD also produced a list of banned additives, placed a ban on flavoured cigarettes, and ensured the product safety and quality of nicotine containing products (NCPs) including electronic cigarettes. All measures that will help prevent thousands of deaths every year and will go a long way to reduce the harm to health directly caused by smoking.

Most importantly, the reviewed TPD will allow EU member states to introduce more stringent measures to regulate tobacco products, such as mandatory standardised packaging. Ireland is already considering this approach which gives us hope that member states will have the political courage to go further and show the political leadership Europe desperately needs in the field of tobacco control.

With close to 13 million people suffering from smoking-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the EU, smoking has devastating effects on societies and healthcare systems. In monetary terms, the estimated annual cost of tobacco to the European economy is about 4.6 per cent of the EU’s GDP.

The Council now has to endorse the TPD for it to become binding European law. After three years in the making, the endorsement of this important piece of legislation should be topping the Council’s to-do-list.

I remain at your disposal.

(This update has been published in The Parliament Magazine on 26th February)

(source of the photo Wikipedia)

the compressed URL of this blog-entry ►  http://bit.ly/O8ewE9

Related earlier EU Hemicycle updates:

73. Yes, We Can – Stop the Tobacco Epidemic in Europe

72. Stronger European Tobacco Control is a Must for Solving the E-cigarette Problem

58. The “Silent Killer” Threatens the European Integration

57. Horsemeat Scandal and the Weaknesses of the Single Market: Does the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Have the Philosophers’ Stone in its Pocket?

45. Will Dalligate mean a delayed Tobacco Products Directive? Don’t Let it Happen!

44. Nuthsell analysis through a timeline of the Dalli-gate based on a video interview with the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy

43. What is the relevance of a break-in into the offices of 3 public health NGOs from a European perspective?

30. Why can I strongly recommend the inauguration/maintenance of ‘fat’ or ‘sin’ taxes?

29. Gondolataim a hálapénz-rendszerről a magyar egészségügyben

28. Mini Public Health Day – Second Part (2/2): Mental well-being under economic turmoil: suicides rates are just the top of the iceberg

Zoltán MASSAY-KOSUBEK

EU Hemicycle: facebook updates on EU affairs

Follow @EU_Hemicycle on Twitter

Join the ongoing EU Hemicycle discussions on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply »»

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

EU Hemicycle blog ► Blog of Zoltán Massay-Kosubek (@EU_ZMK) rss

The Blog was managed by Zoltán Massay-Kosubek from 2012 to 2014. All 77 published posts – reflecting his own personal opinions only – are publicly available. Zoltán is a Hungarian and European lawyer and Public Health advocate. more.



  • EU Hemicycle on Twitter

  • Recent Posts

  • Advertisement