EU Parliament committee votes for large tobacco health warnings: a very positive development says ASH

Thursday 11 July 2013

ASH is delighted that the lead EU Parliamentary committee (ENVI) responsible for making recommendations on the revised proposed EU Tobacco Products Directive has voted for health warnings on cigarette packs to be increased to 75% of the surface area, as originally proposed by the European Commission. Despite lobbying by the tobacco industry to have the warnings reduced in size, members of the ENVI committee have voted to retain the proposal for the warnings to be increased in size and for pictorial warnings to be mandatory. The committee of MEPs also rejected proposed amendments that would have weakened the draft Directive .

ASH Chief Executive, Deborah Arnott, said:

“This is wonderful news and gratifying that the politicians have ignored the lobbying tactics of the tobacco industry and put health before industry profits. While the Westminster government dithers on standard packaging it’s encouraging that EU politicians have understood the importance of increasing the size of health warnings on cigarette packs to help deter children from taking up an addictive and deadly habit.”

Notes and Links
The following measures were all approved by the ENVI committee:
• pictorial health warnings covering 75% of the front and the back of tobacco packets;
• A ban on characterising flavours and restrictions on the use of other flavourings and additives in tobacco;
• Ban on slim cigarettes and slim and ‘lipstick’ style cigarette packs;
• Measures to strengthen the control of the supply chain and help prevent illicit tobacco trade;
• Member States’ right to adopt stronger national measures such as standard packaging
• E-cigarettes regulated under pharmaceutical legislation

The European Parliament Plenary is expected to vote on the ENVI committee report during its session between 9 and 12 September 2013, paving the way for negotiations with the EU Council on a compromise position..
Link to ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) committee website:
Link to Tobacco Directive

Background Information:
70% of smokers start before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25 years.
Pictorial warnings of 75% or more are not just proven to be more effective in reducing the attractiveness of tobacco products to children and young people; they are also in force in several countries around the world where significant reductions in youth smoking were registered after their introduction.
Pictorial warnings covering 75% of the front and the back of the pack have NOT been legally challenged anywhere in the world.
75% of all European citizens are in favour of this measure (Eurobarometer)