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Public Health (24-09-2010)

Public consultation: Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive

Today, the European Commission launches a public consultation on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC). A wide range of views is sought on factors such as labelling and health warnings on tobacco packets and additives used as tobacco ingredients.

All interested parties are invited to submit their comments by 19 November 2010. Further details on the consultation can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/consultations/tobacco_cons_01_en.htm

The Tobacco Products Directive dates from 2001. It stipulates maximum limits in cigarettes for substances such as nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. It also requires manufacturers to put textual health warnings on tobacco products and ban terms such as "light", "mild" or "low tar".

Through the revision of this Directive, the Commission seeks to regulate tobacco products on a uniform basis in all Member States, to improve awareness of dangers of tobacco use, to increase motivation to quit and to discourage initiation of smoking.

The public is invited to comment on problems that are identified in the public consultation, such as:

  • Legislation in Member States varies widely across the EU and does not sufficiently address health and safety concerns relating to certain tobacco and nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes.
  • Pictorial warnings are currently used in four Member States: Belgium, Romania, the UK and Latvia. This means that the level of information for EU consumers about the dangers of smoking can vary considerably from one Member State to another.
  • Regulation allowing or forbidding potentially harmful, addictive and attractive substances, including flavours, varies widely between Member States.
  • Information on ingredients in tobacco is difficult to understand, compare and analyze at present. This is due to a variety of formats and reporting mechanisms in different Member States.

More information on tobacco control in the EU can be found here:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/policy/index_en.htm