May 2013 – The new EU Tobacco Products Directive is an essential piece of legislation and can play a key role in achieving the objectives of “Europe 2020 – Europe’s Growth Strategy”: to keep people healthy and active longer, to help people prevent avoidable diseases and premature death and to have a positive impact on productivity and thus competitiveness.

With this Directive, the EU has the possibility of changing the burden of disease for the new generation; by restricting the ability of economic operators to market lethal products to children and young people the EU is in a position to show political leadership and allow children and young people to grow up in an environment that is clear on what tobacco products are: the only products that, if consumed as intended, kill one out of two of their long-term users.

Tobacco in a few figures:

  • 700 000 deaths per year in the EU
  • 13 million people suffering from the main tobacco-related diseases
  • In 2012, 28 % of all EU citizens smoked, 29 % of people aged 15-24 years,
  • A total of €25.3 billion spent every year in healthcare in Europe
  • €8.3 billion of annual productivity loss
  • 75% of the EU population in favour of stricter tobacco measures.

EPHA recalls that the EU as well as each of its 27 Member States are signatories to and have ratified the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC includes articles on the regulation of the contents of tobacco products (Article 9), packaging and labelling of tobacco products (Article 11) and Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (Article 13) and the EU and its member states must implement them.

As part of the revision of Directive 2001/37/EC, the European Public Health Alliance recommends the following:

  • Mandatory plain packaging: combined health warnings (text and picture) should cover 80% of both front and back of tobacco packages,
  • All additives should be banned, including flavourings,

The status quo on snus should be maintained,

  • Products containing tobacco, including e-cigarettes should be regulated: the pharmaceutical legislation (Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use) could provide an appropriate framework for regulating the quality, safety and efficacy of NCPs but we do not exclude other approaches that could equally achieve the objectives outlined above,
  • Online sale of tobacco products should be banned.

Download EPHA position paper on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive

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Plain cigarette packaging introduced today in Australia

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