The new Tobacco Products Directive

This Directive is a major achievement for public health in the EU, in particular as regards the protection of young people. Once it is implemented, there will be major changes in the type and packaging of tobacco products available on the EU market as the Directive prohibits strong flavours such as fruit or menthol in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco. It requires that cigarette packages carry big pictures and text warnings that remind consumers of the risks of smoking and bans the use of misleading terms such as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.

The Directive also introduces measures to combat the illicit trade of tobacco products. New provisions for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes will ensure that these products are safer and of better quality, and properly labelled. The Directive has already been challenged in court by both the tobacco and e-cigarette industry as well as by one Member State.

The European Parliament and Council are working together, with the help of the Commission, to ensure that the rules agreed by the co-legislators are upheld in Court and that the internal market and public health benefits of the new Directive are not lost. Encouragingly, a number of Member States (France, Ireland and the UK) have signalled their intention to go further and introduce fully standardised packaging. Like Australia before them, these countries are committed to ensuring that tobacco companies do not use packaging to entice young people to use their products. They are frontrunners in the protection of young people and citizens from the harmful effects of smoking.

Smoking prevalence has been falling in the EU over recent years and this Directive will reinforce that trend and mean even fewer young people will be attracted to start.

To read more about the Directive, click here on http://ec.europa.eu