TPD reaction: Europe's doctors 'disappointed' with outcome of tobacco vote on 'several key issues'

Katrín Fjeldsted hopes that the tobacco products directive will not be weakened any further than it has been during the upcoming negotiations with EU member states.

By Katrín Fjeldsted

08 Oct 2013

The standing committee of European doctors is encouraged that the European parliament has mandated the tobacco products directive rapporteur Linda McAvan to proceed with negotiations.

However, we are disappointed with the outcome of the vote on several key issues. If this result was the only achievable outcome, we sincerely hope it will not be weakened further in negotiations with the council in order to make this directive as effective as possible.

We had hoped very much that the plenary would follow its committee's recommendation and support health warnings with 75 per cent surface coverage.

We hope that the agreement on 65 per cent will present a sound basis for improvements, since the deterrent effect of health warnings is directly related to their size.

The endorsement of the ban of certain additives was an important point from our perspective, because products containing flavourings, for example, draw consumers' attention away from the harmful effects by masking them with superficially pleasant tastes.

"We very much regret that MEPs chose to reject the proposed ban of so-called 'slim' cigarettes"

But in no way can these products be considered less harmful. Children and young people are primarily the target of these products. If legislation fails to prohibit these products, they are the most vulnerable to these products' misleading messages.

For this reason we are disappointed that menthol flavourings were given an exemption which allows for an extended phase-out.

We very much regret that MEPs chose to reject the proposed ban of so-called 'slim' cigarettes. No one who has seen these products and their marketing can deny that they are overwhelmingly targeted at young girls and intentionally associate aspirational lifestyle messages with their consumption.

These products are harmful to health, this should be the main message they convey. Without a ban, we can expect to see further health damage among young female smokers.

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