Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: EU


ASH Daily News for 15 June 2018

UK

  • Retailers in the dark over new tobacco codes
  • Cambridge: Football team back no smoking campaign ‘Kick Ash’
  • Stafford: Council use World Cup inspired anti-litter initiative to keep the town clean

International

  • EU challenges Belgium’s attempt to outlaw menthol cigarettes before 2020
  • France: Minister orders tobacco industry to stub out cigarette butt pollution
  • USA: Smokers don’t believe vaping is less harmful than smoking
  • USA: Study suggests flavouring chemicals in E-cigarettes may harm blood vessels

Link of the week

  • Rapid review of compliance with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations: 2017

UK

Retailers in the dark over new tobacco codes

Clarity is being called for on new track and trace regulations for tobacco products.

The regulations which are set to be introduced in May 2019 as part of the EU Tobacco Products Directive, will create a new method of tracking the sale of legitimate tobacco products through the supply chain, requiring retailers to apply for and receive a unique ‘economic operator identifier code’ for their businesses and a ‘facility identifier code’ for each of their stores. Without the codes, retailers will not be able to buy tobacco legally.

However, with less than one year to go before implementation, there is still a lack of clarity over the time that retailers will be given to apply, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The illicit trade in tobacco is a damaging criminal enterprise that cost the Treasury over £2.5 billion last year in lost duties and VAT.”

Clarity on when retailers are able to apply will support them to sell tobacco legally.

Source: Convenience Store, 30 May 2018

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Cambridge: Football team back no smoking campaign ‘Kick Ash’

An innovative no smoking programme led by young people in Cambridgeshire has scored winning support from its local football club – Cambridge United.

Kick Ash, an award-winning campaign led by young people to prevent smoking in under 16’s across the county is being endorsed by the club who will be promoting the initiative in its programme, website and newsletter.

Supported by a partnership involving Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire PSHE service and Everyone Health’s CAMQUIT Stop Smoking Service, the programme works with 10 secondary schools across the county and their partner primary schools to encourage all young people to be proud to be smoke free.

Since launching in 2009, 952 year 10 students have been trained in county secondary schools to become Kick Ash mentors, who provide informal support to young people who want information and advice on smoking as well as supporting an education programme for year 6 pupils in partner primary schools and year 8 pupils in secondary schools.

Source: Cambridgeshire County Council, 14 June 2018

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Stafford: Council use World Cup inspired anti-litter initiative to keep the town clean

Stafford Borough Council has put up a cigarette butt ballot box bin on the wall of the town’s Civic Centre. The bin poses the question: “Will England do well in Russia” and has two slots for people to put their cigarette ends in – one for yes and the other for no.

Smokers will be encouraged to cast their votes on the performance of the England Football Team during the World Cup using their cigarette butts.

In the last year more than 170 people have been fined or taken to court for discarding rubbish, with the majority of litter being cigarette butts. Money from the fines is spent on helping tackle environmental issues.

Source: The Stone and Eccleshall Gazette, 14 June 2018

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International

EU challenges Belgium’s attempt to outlaw menthol cigarettes before 2020

The Belgian Minister of Public Health, Maggie De Block wants to ban methanol tobacco before the European 2020 deadline.

The Minister of Public Health prepared a royal decree draft, transposing the European Directive into Belgian law, but without taking into consideration the exemption granted to methanol tobacco.“Protection of health, especially for young people, justifies the application of this measure at the earliest” stated Mrs De Block.

The European Commission have sent the Belgian government a warning threatening to take this to the EU Court of Justice. European Administration reminded them that the directive text indicates that the banning of menthol tobacco “should extend over a long period to allow consumers enough time to switch to other products”.The European Commission is awaiting a response on Belgians intentions, but the cabinet has said it will go-ahead to ban methanol before the European 2020 deadline.

Source: The Brussels Times, 15 June 2018

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France: Minister orders tobacco industry to stub out cigarette butt pollution

France will force tobacco companies to help end the scourge of cigarette butts that litter streets and contaminate water, unless they take voluntary action in the next three months, a government minister said on Thursday 14th June.

The city of Paris picks up 350 tonnes of cigarette butts every year despite wall-mounted ashtrays and the threat of a 68 euro fine for anyone caught throwing butts on the street.

“If no effective commitments are proposed by September, the government will force the industry to get involved in the collection and elimination of its waste,” Junior Environment Minister Brune Poirson said ahead of a meeting with industry representatives.

The government has not said what measures it might impose, but one official said a mandatory recycling scheme was an option.

Source: Reuters, 14 June 2018

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USA: Smokers don’t believe vaping is less harmful than smoking

A growing proportion of U.S. adults do not believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, according to an analysis of the U.S. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study data from 2013 to 2015 presented yesterday at the fifth Global Forum on Nicotine conference.

The analysis of the latest PATH data suggests that the proportion of adult current smokers who believed e-cigarettes were just as, or more, harmful than smoking increased substantially from 43% in 2013 to 57% in 2015.

In the wider adult population (including non-smokers) the perception was even more skewed with the analysis showing the proportion of the adult population believing that e-cigarettes were as harmful, or more harmful, than smoking increasing from 54% in 2013 to 65% in 2015.

Source: EurekAlert! 14 June 2018

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USA: Study suggests flavouring chemicals in E-cigarettes may harm blood vessels

A new study by researchers from Boston University on endothelial cells suggests that the flavour additives used in e-cigarettes can impair blood vessel function.

In the study, the researchers looked at the effects of nine chemical flavourings often used in e-cigarettes on endothelial cells – the cells that line the blood vessels and the inside of the heart. Flavours tested included menthol, burnt flavour, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, butter, strawberry, banana and spicy cool. Their analysis revealed that all nine flavours had detrimental effects on endothelial cells.

The researchers noticed that when blood vessels were exposed to these flavouring additives, normally released chemicals to promote blood flow were decreased and inflammation increased, indicators of short-term toxicity.

Source: The Mirror, 14 June 2018

See also: ATVB Journal: Flavorings in Tobacco Products Induce Endothelial Cell Dysfunction

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Link of the week

Rapid review of compliance with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations: 2017

The Tobacco & Regulated Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) came into full effect in May 2017 following a 12 month transition period.

This report from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute presents the findings from phase 3 of monitoring carried out by Trading Standards and focuses on the compliance of nicotine inhaling products with these Regulations.

Read Report

ASH submission to EU consultation on tracking and tracing of tobacco products

In October 2017 ASH made a submission to the European Union consultation on the tracking and tracing of tobacco products. You can read the submission by following the link below.

ASH response to EU consultation on tracking and tracing of tobacco products

ASH response to EU consultation on excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco

In February 2017 ASH submitted its response to an EU public consultation on excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco. You can read the submission by using the link below.

ASH response to EU consultation on excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco

European Union treaty and case law

Regulation Description
European Union
Consolidated treaty establishing the European Union (In Force)
(External page)
The European Union treaty was agreed at Maastricht in 1992, subsequently amended at Amsterdam (1997) and Nice (2000 – not in force).
Consolidated treaty establishing the European Community (In Force)
(External page)
The European Union incorporates and reshapes the European Economic Community (established in the Treaty of Rome of 1957) and renames it the ‘European Community’. This was also amended at Amsterdam and Nice.
Public Health Policy
Article 152 of the Treaty of the European Community (In Force)
(External Web Page)
The fundamental weakness in EU tobacco policy is that the treaty article on public health (Article 152) does not allow binding EU legislation – directives or regulations – except in areas that do not apply to tobacco (blood products, human body parts etc).Public health legislation on tobacco regulation and promotion has been shoehorned in as ‘single market’ legislation under Article 95.

Though Article 152 encourages public health measures, it explicitly does not permit harmonisation of laws of member states under this article:
152.4(c) incentive measures designed to protect and improve human health, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

This may not simply be an oversight – some member states are reluctant to give power to the EU by widening the scope of the treaty unless there is a benefit from pooling sovereignty – i.e. some cross border or international rationale for agreeing to be bound by a qualified majority decision of the member states. This is sometimes known as the subsidiary principle.

Consumer Protection Policy
Article 153 of the Treaty of the European Community (In Force)
(External Web Page)
Like public health, consumer protection legislation is similarly constrained. Article 153 on consumer protection, promotes encouragement of consumer protection and requires it to be taken into account, but it requires the use of Article 95 on the single market for more concrete measures. It only allows legislation that is ancillary (see 3b) to support, supplement and monitor the policy pursued by the Member States.1. In order to promote the interests of consumers and to ensure a high level of consumer protection, the Community shall contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, as well as to promoting their right to information, education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests.

2. Consumer protection requirements shall be taken into account in defining and implementing other Community policies and activities.

3. The Community shall contribute to the attainment of the objectives referred to in paragraph 1 through:

(a) measures adopted pursuant to Article 95 in the context of the completion of the internal market;

(b) measures which support, supplement and monitor the policy pursued by the Member States.”

Consultation document on future heading of Consumer Protection Policy
Green Paper on European Union Consumer Protection
(External PDF)
The purpose of this green paper is to launch a public consultation on the future direction of EU consumer protection. 2001
Social Chapter: Protection of workers
Article 136 and 137 of the Treaty of the European Community (In Force)
(External Web Page)
The directives on worker protection were written under what is now Article 136 & 137 of the Social Chapter of the Maastricht treaty.
Quantitative import and export policy
Article 28 and Article 30 of the Treaty of the European Community (In Force)
(External Web Page)
Trade-related challenges to public health measuresThe treaty is dominated by an emphasis on free trade and the single market. A particular concern is the possible use of Treaty provisions on free movement of goods and services (Article 28) to undo national public health legislation. For example, national advertising legislation could be challenged as a barrier to entry.

Article 30 allows a public health defence but the burden of proof is on the public health authority to show the measure is ‘proportionate’ and not ‘arbitrary discrimination’ or a disguised restriction on trade between Member States’.

A challenge to the Swedish law banning alcohol advertising has been brought before the ECJ using Article 28 and 30. An opinion by the Advocate General (Opinion case 405/98) concludes that there are circumstances where the treaty can be used to block national legislation…

Freedom to provide cross border services
EU Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Community (In Force)
(External Web Page)
“A national rule banning the commercial advertising of alcoholic beverages directly to the general public constitutes a measure equivalent to a quantitative restriction on imports of such beverages, prohibited by Article 30 [now 28] of the EC Treaty, and a restriction on the freedom to provide cross-border advertising services, prohibited by Article 59 [now 49]. Such a rule may be justified by reason of its aim to protect the health and life of humans from the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol, but only in so far as that aim cannot be achieved just as effectively by less restrictive measures. A ban which extends to commercial advertising in periodicals a significant part of whose subject-matter is lawfully devoted to alcoholic beverages is in principle unnecessary and ineffective in that regard, and thus incapable of such justification.”

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The impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK

This briefing examines the impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK.

The impact of the EU Tobacco Products Directive on e-cigarette regulation in the UK
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