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Monday
Jul292013

The EU road to prohibition

Delighted to report the launch today of a new Forest campaign.

Very few people are aware that Brussels is trying to impose severe restrictions on the sale of tobacco in every member state.

The original Tobacco Products Directive was introduced in 2001. In 2010 the European Commission presented proposals for a revised Directive and these were the subject of a three-month public consultation that, surprise, surprise, hardly anyone in Britain knew was taking place.

Belatedly Forest launched an online petition to tackle some of the proposals and to promote it we made a short video, Fight EC proposals on tobacco control, that included contributions from Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs), Eamonn Butler (Adam Smith Institute) and David Bowden (Institute of Ideas).

With similar initiatives taking place across Europe the result was that 96 per cent of the overall total of responses opposed the new Directive.

Undeterred (EC cries foul as citizens have their say) those unelected bureaucrats in Brussels pressed on and in December 2012 submitted revised proposals to the European Parliament. Since then various committees have been examining the proposed regulations as well as listening to 'expert' and stakeholder opinion.

(You may recall that I attended one such meeting in Brussels in March. It began with the chair, Linda McAvan MEP, declaring her support for the proposed Directive before any us had even opened our mouths! See Notes from the European Parliament.)

More recently it was revealed that health minister Anna Soubry had denied the European Scrutiny Committee in Westminster an opportunity to scrutinise the proposed regulations.

So determined was she to support the Directive she apparently failed to correspond with the Scrutiny Committee for six months (January to June 2013). Worse, having then asked the Committee to waive the opportunity to scrutinise the proposed legislation, she ignored their response (which was negative) and pressed on anyway.

So we are where we are and frankly it's not looking good. But all is not lost. There has been some backtracking in one or two areas already and we believe we can achieve further changes to the Directive.

As ever, though, we need your support.

Today Forest is launching the No Thank EU campaign. The aim is to petition MEPs before they vote on the Directive in the autumn. (Curiously the vote has been brought forward to September 10 when it was originally scheduled for October which gives us even less time than we anticipated.)

As things stand menthol cigarettes will be banned, and there is a question mark over 'slim' cigarettes.

Packs of ten cigarettes will be outlawed and smaller pouches of roll your own tobacco will also be prohibited.

The TPD will severely regulate the shape and size of cigarette packets and increase the size of graphic health warnings (as if they're not big enough already!).

The question is, are you going to let the European Union dictate what tobacco products you can purchase and consume in the UK?

There is more information on the No Thank EU campaign website (above). Please pop over there now and register your support, then tick the box that gives us permission to send a letter in your name to your elected representatives.

A copy of the letter can be downloaded from the website. You can also add your own comments.

Over to you. Please click here and sign up today.

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Reader Comments (7)

Signed up cos the success of the HOOPS campaign was a bit of a lesson for me....Thomas that I am.

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

Dates on petition page refer to 2010?

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 15:11 | Unregistered CommenterJohn McCoy

While I support this, I think there should also be a mention of the proposed restriction on ecigs. The aim to ban nicotine is also wrong.

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 18:15 | Unregistered CommenterMark Butcher

I hope it's only me but I'm having problems with the 'No Thank EU' site. The page is very wide and scrolling right doesn't help much because the formatting goes wrong. The only way I can view the fully formatted page is to 'zoom out' repeatedly but then the text is too small to see.

I experience this with both IE 8 and Firefox 16.02. Yes I do realise these are rather old but thought I'd mention this problem anyway as many others may have these releases too.

That said, this looks like a great initiative and I will try to sign up.

Monday, July 29, 2013 at 18:51 | Unregistered CommenterTony

The EU have no right to interfere with our liberty. In the USA even hotels still have smoking bedrooms. I think the world has gone crazy and there are bigger issues than smoking. Please leave us smokers alone.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 9:51 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia Rood

Since the smoking ban came in just look at the amount of bans/restrictions that have been forced on us, if not in plain sight then by stealth, its the EU way of gaining control over us to turn us into whipped dogs doing their bidding.
The EU mechanism doesent give a damn about smoking, drinking, obsity, health, unemployment, poverty, mortgage debt, immigration, emmigration and lowering wages for us the plebs.
The aim of the EU mechanism is total control.
Welcome to the New Soviet Union.
We'll all be gonners when their new fiscal policy is spearheaded through.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 10:21 | Unregistered Commenterann

I hope I live long enough to see the end of this nightmare.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 21:37 | Unregistered CommenterNorman Brand

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