Manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products: - closing speech by Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health

Type: News   Reference: 94631   Duration: 00:03:24  Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 08/10/2013   First transmission: 08/10/2013
A proposed law to make tobacco less attractive to young people, inter alia by banning sweet or fruity flavours and forbidding 10 cigarettes and fancy packets, was debated this morning in the European Parliament. The draft, as amended by the Public Health Committee, would also require more health warnings on packets and subject electronic cigarettes to EU rules on medicinal products. A very strong lobbying from the tobacco industry was deployed to try to sunk this directive. Economical arguments where put forward by tobacco industry to prevent the adoption of the directive. In his closing speech, Commissioner Tonio BORG, in charge of Health and Consumers Policy, stripped down the lobbyists' arguments.

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00:00:00 TITLE 00:00:05
00:00:05 EXTERIOR SHOT of the European Parliament, Strasbourg. 00:00:05
00:00:10 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy : "So the question is : do we protect jobs or do we protect lives ? And of course if one had to have just that choice, choose between jobs and lives, I think it's obvious that we would chose lives, after all the right to life is number one in all charters of Fundamental Rights. But I believe that it is possible to protect both lives and jobs if we succeed in our aims in controlling tobacco. Lives will be saved but also jobs will be saved because the economic funds which will be realised by less expenditure on health care, by more savings by those who quit smoking, will be invested in the economy generating jobs as well. And let us be very careful about this jobs argument, because if we start with the argument that by reducing the number of smokers then automatically there will be a loss of jobs, then this is an argument which can be used not only against these directive, but against any measure of tobacco control ! So let's withdraw all our education campaigns of prevention, because otherwise the number of smokers will go down and the number of jobs will be lost ? " 00:01:24
00:01:34 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy : "We will hear this argument : but let us protect State revenue ! Well the Governments felt that the loss which they are suffering in their fiscal revenue from what they are spending on curing and taking care of smoke related diseases, excess much more the revenue which the States gets from tobacco consumption." 00:00:25
00:01:59 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy : "If we put forward these arguments in health matters, then we should abolish all the regulations imposing on us the obligation to safety belts when driving, or else of wearing crush helmets for motorcyclist, because, after all, they have the right to die if they want to in traffic accidents. Of course, these regulations are in place because, after all, it is the State, first of all because of health, because deaths arising from traffic accidents create emotional disturbance and emotional distress, but also because after all it is the State which pays the bill each time there is an accident and will have to cure the injures which are suffered." 00:00:46
00:02:45 SOUNDBITE (English) Tonio BORG, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy : "And then of course I think there is perfect prove, there is perfect evidence, that this directive will be effective : it will be effective because the opposition to it by the tobacco industry has been strong because it is effective. Had it not been effective, if it is approved, then why all this opposition to this directive ? The opposition to this directive is based on the fact that if we approve this EU law, in practice, when it comes into force, it will bring about a reduction in tobacco consumption." 00:00:39
00:03:24 END 00:00:00
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