New Rules for Tobacco Products and Packaging

Since 700.000 people are dying of smoking every year in the EU the European Commission proposed stricter rules for tobacco products and packaging.

How did we get here?

700.000 people are still dying every year because of the consequences of smoking. That is why DG Health and Consumers decided to revise the existing EU Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC.


Why is this important for me?

Because cigarettes are bad for you. That argument is quite hard to fight, isn't it? With the new rules the EU legislators try to make tobacco products less attractive, especially for young people and girls. Bigger warning labels combined with deterring pictures are meant to keep people from buying cigarettes. The ban of additive flavours masking the original tobacco taste will keep people from smoking, who do not actually like this taste. Overall, these measures aim to reduce the tobacco consumption.


What's the content?

They published a proposal for a new tobacco products and packaging directive featuring several main elements:

The committee dealing with environmental and health issues in the European Parliament confirmed most of these measures only refusing the attempt to “plain package” cigarettes (a neutral packaging in an olive colour not showing any producer logos anymore). However, the EP plenary sacked the ban for slim cigarettes and reduced the warning label size to 65%. In December 2013 the negotiatian team from the European Parliament led by its rapporteuer Linda McAvan (S&D, UK) reached an agreement with the Members States, basically getting its demands accepted. On e-cigarettes they found a compromise as they should be regulated either as medicinal products or alternatively as tobacco products, depending on the nicotine concentration. Yet, Member States can always introduce stricter rules, such as plain packaging.


What's happening with this bill in the future?

The directive has been formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council and published in the Official Journal in April 2014. From there Member States had two years to transpose the new rules into national law.


Related Bills:

Organic production and labelling of organic products

Fruit, vegetables and milk for European Students

Updated rules on 'novel foods'

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