The EU road to prohibition
Monday, July 29, 2013 at 10:00
Simon Clark

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.

Update on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 11:18 by Registered CommenterSimon Clark

I'm off on holiday tomorrow so it may be a bit quiet around here for a while.

Forest never stops campaigning, though. Campaigns manager Angela Harbutt will be driving the No Thank EU project forward and here's how you can help:

Visit and 'like' our Facebook page and invite your friends to 'like' it too.

Follow @NoThankEU on Twitter and retweet our tweets.

Update: Angela has written this article for Politics Home: No Thank EU!

See also: Tobacco Products Directive? Nein Danke! (Chris Snowdon)

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