Tobacco products directive: New legislative framework can 'inspire' determined action

Despite heavy lobbying, the tobacco industry failed to significantly dilute the EU's Tobacco products directive, writes Katrin Fjeldsted.

By Katrin Fjeldsted

28 Feb 2014

I warmly welcome the European parliament's plenary endorsement of the draft tobacco products directive. 

Despite all the obstacles the decision-making process has had to face, I am very encouraged that the objective of creating a new legal framework that can support the reduction of tobacco-related harm did not fall victim to commercial interests. 

[pullquote]We believe this new directive enshrines conducive policies proven to discourage the up-take and support the cessation of smoking[/pullquote]. In particular the provisions on labelling of tobacco products and control of additives are a big step forward. 

The importance of the size of health warnings in relation to their deterrent effect has been demonstrated in other countries. The new provisions will entail an increase in the visibility of health warnings in many member states and help to ensure that information on the health effects of tobacco consumption is clearly readable. 

The prohibition of additives which flavour tobacco products will contribute to reducing the attractiveness of these products. Since their marketing is often targeted at young people, we hope that this measure will help to decrease the number of new smokers. 

One of our regrets remains the failure to prohibit so-called ‘slim’ cigarettes. This prohibition would have been a further tool to reinforce efforts to prevent tobacco consumption, in particular among young women who are the main focus of marketing in this product category. 

I would like to thank all the policymakers that fought for this directive and hope that the new legislative framework will inspire determined action towards better tobacco control laws.

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