TPD2 tobacco rules infantilise smokers say campaigners
20 May 2017 marks the transitional deadline for EU countries to allow non-compliant products on the market — a clear setback for European consumers.
The European smokers’ campaign Forest EU (http://forestonline.eu/) says the new TPD2 regulations on tobacco “infantilise” consumers and is likely to make no difference to public health.
Saturday 20 May 2017 marks the ‘transitional deadline’ for EU Member States to allow non-TPD2 compliant products to be placed on the market.
The new rules (EU Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU), which must be fully implemented by this weekend, 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.
Guillaume Périgois, director of Forest EU, which campaigns for smokers’ rights in Europe, said:
“The new regulations treat adults like thoughtless children. They infantilise 100 million adult consumers in Europe by attacking freedom of choice and personal responsibility.
“Adults and even teenagers are under no illusions about the health risks of smoking. Consumers don’t need larger health warnings to tell them what they already know.
“If you’re trying to cut down your tobacco consumption, it will be harder now because the option of buying a smaller number of cigarettes has been taken away.
“Banning smaller packs is a mind-boggling attempt to target the less well-off in the hope they will be forced to quit, but smokers will soon adapt and buy the larger packs instead.”
TPD2 also introduces new measures intended to combat the illegal trade in tobacco products include an EU-wide tracking and tracing system for the legal supply chain and a security feature composed of holograms.
Périgois commented on these measures by saying:
“The measures designed to restrict trade in illegal tobacco are an implicit recognition that over-regulation encourages counterfeiting and smuggling of tobacco, with all the harmful side effects this causes, including boosting organised crime and the availability of low quality products.”
In December 2012, the European Commission adopted its proposal to revise the previous EU Tobacco Products Directive, or ‘TPD1’.
The proposal was adopted following a public consultation, which generated 85,000 responses. The majority of respondents opposed the key measures featured in the proposal.
The accompanying Impact Assessment asserted that the proposal will create a 2% drop in consumption (representing around 2.4 million smokers, compared to the 100 million adult smokers in the EU) within five years after the transposition (i.e. 2021), but the Commission acknowledges that this figure is just “a best effort estimation”.
Commenting on this, Périgois added:
“The new regulations are a disgraceful attempt to denormalise both the product and legitimate consumers. The European smokers opposed TPD1 then and they oppose TPD2 now.
“There’s no evidence they will have the slightest impact on public health.”
Forest EU calls for a neutral review of the impact of TPD2.
“The EU should attempt no further legislation on tobacco before we know how this directive has worked.
“This will give the EU a chance to review the impact of these policies and, where necessary, amend or repeal regulations that deliberately discriminate against 100 million adult consumers.”
About Forest EU
Since 1979, Forest has been the leading voice in defending the rights of tobacco consumers and tolerant non-smokers. As an advocacy campaign, Forest EU informs consumers about issues that affect them in the European Union and engages with stakeholders so the views of informed adults are taken into account within the EU’s decision-making process. Forest EU doesn’t encourage smoking and represents the consumer, not the tobacco industry. For more information, visit forestonline.eu.