New Tobacco Directive Will Deter Young People From Smoking

Feb 26, 2014 EST

Today the European Parliament backed a new Tobacco Products Directive as negotiated by the S&D MEP Linda McAvan. The main aim of the new directive is to deter young people from taking up smoking. It also addresses the legislative vacuum existing on electronic cigarettes. The author of the parliamentary report and S&D spokesperson on health, MEP Linda McAvan, said:

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"This is the culmination of years of work against the background of intense lobbying from the tobacco industry and its front groups. The new measures are a big step forward for tobacco control, and will help to prevent the next generation of smokers from being recruited. We know that it is children not adults - who start to smoke: the overwhelming majority of smokers start before their 18th birthday." "And the recent trends in child smokers are worrying - this is why the law is designed to tackle the array of gimmicky products and packaging that the tobacco industry uses to attract young people, and hook them into a life-long addiction."

"Smoking will ultimately kill one in every two smokers - it claims the lives of 700,000 every year across Europe. Today we set tougher rules, but member states are allowed to go further."

"The new law also introduces proper regulation of e-cigarettes for the first time. The final measures are very close to what MEPs voted for - e-cigarettes will not be required to seek a medicines licence unless they are marketed as a quit aid."

"E-cigarette manufacturers have the option of having their products treated like tobacco products - i.e. they can be sold freely - as long as they meet certain safeguards, including the same advertising bans as for tobacco products, quality and safety standards, better labelling for consumers on nicotine content and dose and a cap on the nicotine strength. Manufacturers who wish to do so can still apply for a medicines licence and would be able to advertise and have their products recommended by doctors." 

"I want to encourage the potential benefits that e-cigarettes offer regular smokers in terms of harm reduction, and the best way of doing this is guaranteeing smokers access to products they can trust." 

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