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« Tobacco Directive could have been worse but don't believe the spin | Main | A very big thank you to everyone who said No Thank EU! »

TPD vote generates "mixed feelings"

Here is Forest's response to events in Strasbourg today:

Campaigners said consumers will have "mixed feelings" following a European Parliament vote on the European Commission's proposal for a revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

MEPs voted against a ban on slim cigarettes and rejected a ban on all smaller pouches of roll your own tobacco. (The European Commission wanted to ban pouches of 12.5g and 25g but MEPs voted to allow 20g pouches.)

The Parliament approved a ban on menthol cigarettes but voted to delay implementation for five years.

Angela Harbutt, campaigns manager of the smokers' group Forest which runs the No Thank EU campaign, said:.

"Consumers will have mixed feelings. We welcome the fact that some products have been reprieved while menthol cigarettes have been given a stay of execution, but consumers are still angry that the EU is trying to restrict or ban products they have purchased and enjoyed for many years.

"Prohibition doesn't work and banned products will almost certainly be available on the unregulated black market. Law-abiding consumers will be at a serious disadvantage and it won't help children because criminal gangs don't care who they sell to."

Harbutt dismissed as "gesture politics" the European Parliament's decision to increase the size of the health warning to 65 per cent of the pack.

"Increasing the size of the health warning is gesture politics. It won't stop people smoking because everyone already knows about the health risks of smoking. It's incredibly patronising, even to teenagers, and the impact on smoking rates will be negligible."

Harbutt accused the European Parliament of ignoring the concerns of consumers and retailers.

Forest this week revealed that a letter writing campaign, opposing revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive, had generated almost 45,000 letters to MPs and MEPs in the United Kingdom alone.

See also: MEPs tighten anti-tobacco laws aimed at young smokers (BBC News)

Update: European Lawmakers Reject Tight Restrictions on E-Cigarettes (New York Times)

Update: Here's the European Parliament press release. It should make everything a little clearer.

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Reader Comments (7)

Angry doesn't even begin to describe it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 16:14 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Having listened to the 'debate' I was struck by how totally devoid of either integrity and ideas the antis were.
The point at which one MEP started whining that members of the public were filming their elected representatives in the act of representing them was about as low as I thought they could sink, el Presidente's response that '...if people were in breach of the rules they'd agreed about how democracy should work...' then they would be ejected was sublime.

However, even this level of idiocy was outdone by the immeasurably stupid Ms McGuiness MEP (from Ireland) who stated that "Cigarettes kill, there is no other statement of fact." a comment so easily disproved by stating any number of known facts, that I canot believe someone with such a poor grasp of their native, mother tongue could ever get elected to office.

Still, a mixed bag - good(ish) news for e-cigs, bad news for Snus and bad (but could have been worse) for rolling tobacco. Then back to the stupid with menthols and packets of ten.

Thanks, Simon, for your campaigning and efforts and as an aside, nice to meet you briefly last Monday.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 16:58 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Wintersgill

This from Amanda Sandford on the BBC report.
"Newsagents were stopped from selling single cigarettes many years ago by law because they are accessible to children," says Sandford. "A 10-pack is within the pocket money range."

Classic think of the chiiiildren. How much pocket money do kids get these days anyway?

By the way Mandy, you do know it's against the law to sell tobacco to under 18's? So stop using the 'for the children line' to punish adults.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 20:19 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

'Half an ounce of Golden Virginia please' - those were the days.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 20:41 | Unregistered CommenterNorman Brand

It'll have to be more gory pics - fewer people will be able read the warnings....

They're always banging on about children, yet incompetent when it comes to educating them.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 21:58 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Hopefully in five years time we'll be out of the EU.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 2:37 | Unregistered CommenterGary Rogers

Larger warnings? I see. If they don't understand, shout louder. It always works.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 9:22 | Unregistered CommenterFrank J

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