September 13, 2017
by Forest EU

Forest EU calls the new Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force to critically assess TPD2

100 million adults resent these flawed, disproportionate anti-smokers measures.

Brussels, 13 September 2017 – For IMMEDIATE release

Forest EU, a European smokers’ group, welcomes the creation of the Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force and calls it to review thoroughly the Tobacco Product Directive.

In a deeply personal pitch for the future of Europe in his State of the European Union speech on Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the EU not to “meddle in the everyday lives of European citizens by regulating every aspect”:

“Last but not least, I want our Union to have a stronger focus on things that matter, building on the work this Commission has already undertaken. We should not meddle in the everyday lives of European citizens by regulating every aspect. We should be big on the big things. We should not march in with a stream of new initiatives or seek ever growing competences. We should give back competences to Member States where it makes sense.”

In order to better achieve this goal, President Juncker added that Vice-President Frans Timmermans is going to lead a newly created task force that will “take a very critical look at all policy areas to make sure we are only acting where the EU adds value”:

“To finish the work we started, I am setting up a Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force as of this month to take a very critical look at all policy areas to make sure we are only acting where the EU adds value. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has a proven track record on better regulation, will head this Task Force. The Timmermans Task Force, which should include Members of this Parliament as well as Members of national Parliaments, should report back in a years’ time.”

This follows a declaration President Juncker made in April 2016:

“I think that one of the reasons that European citizens are stepping away from the European project is that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives, and too many domains where the member states are better placed to take action and pass legislation.

“We were wrong in over-regulating and interfering too much in the daily lives of our citizens, and we were wrong insufficiently to respect subsidiarity.”

Forest EU welcomes the creation of this Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force and calls the Tobacco Products Directive to be critically assessed.

Smokers represent 26% of the population in the European Union, or 100 million adult citizens on the continent.

EU countries are already among the most regulated places on earth in which to smoke. Yet, because of the Tobacco Product Directive, adult smokers are subject to a series of punitive measures that infantilise them as consumers and are likely to make no difference to public health.

These measures, strengthened by TPD2 which was fully implemented in May 2017, include a minimum pack size of 20 cigarettes, a minimum pouch size of 30g rolling tobacco, larger health warnings to cover 65% of the front and back of packs and pouches, a ban on flavoured cigarettes, an interdiction to convey some information to the consumers on products (such as the biodegradability of the product), and the possibility for EU countries to ban cross-border distance sales (on the Internet, for example). Regarding e-cigarettes, the Directive makes health warnings mandatory and sets maximum nicotine concentrations and maximum volumes for cartridges, tanks and nicotine liquid containers.

Forest EU estimates that these TPD measures are flawed, unreasonable and disproportionate and therefore don’t comply with the Commission’s better regulation agenda the creation of this new Task Force is inspired by.

Forest EU asks the newly created Task Force to

  • conduct an evidence-based, open to all-parties review of the impact of the revised Tobacco Products Directive and,
  • where necessary, advise for an amend or repeal of part or all of these regulations that deliberately discriminate against 100 million adult consumers.

Note for editors:

  • For more information, please contact Forest EU Director Guillaume Périgois on +32 4 78 98 07 43 or at
  • Forest EU is an advocacy campaign informing smokers about issues that affect them in the European Union and engaging with stakeholders so the views of informed adults are taken into account within the EU’s decision-making process. Since 1979, Forest has been the leading voice in defending the rights of tobacco consumers and tolerant non-smokers. Forest EU doesn’t encourage smoking and represents the consumer, not the tobacco industry. For more information, visit