The European Parliament late last night reached a draft deal on tobacco regulation, with agreement on increased picture warnings, regulation of e-cigarettes and a ban on products targeted at children.
Linda McAvan, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and the European Parliament’s lead negotiator (rapporteur) on the tobacco directive, said:
“Over 700,000 people die every year in the European Union as a result of smoking and 70% of those started smoking before the age of 18. Nearly 14,000 children between the ages of 11-15 here in our region are regular smokers and the EU has a responsibility to make smoking as unattractive as possible to the next generation.”
Under the deal, there will be graphic picture warnings on cigarettes, roll your own, and waterpipe tobacco, covering 65 per cent of the front and back of packaging; there will be a ban on flavourings in cigarettes, with a menthol ban phased in from 2020.
The proposal means that Electronic-cigarettes will be subject to some moderate regulation to ensure that they are safe for users.
“This is a good overall compromise and it’s time for national governments to back the deal. The new legislation will introduce safeguards to protect users of tobacco products and will stop any gateway to attract young people with misleading flavours and shapes imitating lipstick or perfume.
“The most difficult issue is e-cigarettes. The proposals will allow e-cigarettes in the market but for the first time they will be subject to regulation. E-cigarettes are not a medicine, but they can and will play a genuine role in helping smokers reduce their use of smoking tobacco, and this is recognised in the deal.
“I hope that the Council representatives who have to decide on this tomorrow morning will have the courage to provide an answer to all those citizens who expect the EU to provide a safe and fair legislation.”
The proposals must get the final support of the Council of the EU tomorrow morning.