The European Parliament has approved the European Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD), by a vote of 514-66. There were 58 abstentions.
Under the legislation, every tobacco product sold in the European Union must have a 65% picture health warning on the front and back of the pack and an additional 50% text warning on the side of the pack. So-called 'lipstick' or 'slims' packs will be banned.
The Directive also specifically allows Member States to introduce further measures relating to 'plain packaging' of tobacco products, provided they are 'justified on grounds of public health, are proportionate and do not lead to hidden barriers to trade between Member States'.
"By ensuring that tobacco products look and taste like tobacco products, the new rules will help to reduce the number of people who start smoking in the EU," said EU Commissioner Tonio Borg, following the vote.
"Central to this are the large mandatory picture and text warnings to be placed on both sides of the pack of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, and the prohibition of characterising flavours. Together with the prohibition of 'lipstick-style' packs and of misleading elements on the packs, these measures put an end to products which entice children and teenagers into starting to smoke in the European Union."
Commenting on the announcement, a spokesperson for John Player said that "Ireland can implement the Directive into national law at any time from April 2014 but must allow tobacco companies adequate time to comply with the new laws."
Philip Morris International's EU Region President Drago Azinovic also commented, saying “Instead of further harmonizing the internal market, a stated objective of the Directive, measures in the TPD will make the EU less competitive and be a gift for the criminals profiting from the black market in tobacco. This will be a blow to the hundreds of thousands of people working in the legal industry and member state governments now faced with filling budget gaps.”
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones