Today, the European Commission published a new report on smoke-free environments and advertising of tobacco and related products. This report presents the results of a recent external study commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE). It will now serve as a key for the review of the advertising provisions of both the Tobacco Advertising Directive and the Tobacco Products Directive, and extend the scope of the Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments (2009/C 296/02).
According to the report, overall and within the EU, the level of compliance with national rules on smoke-free environments and advertising of tobacco & related products is high. Still, it points to areas that require a closer look and tightening of the current rules.
It recommends extending the current advertising prohibitions to unambiguously cover also devices of heated tobacco products. Social media should now also be explicitly mentioned in the rules for advertising, and regulations should be more harmonious across the entire EU. Mandatory reporting of the tobacco industry’s promotional expenditures and stronger regulations on lobbying are also proposed.
Among the suggestions to update the smoke-free environment provisions, the report now suggests also including vapour from e-cigarettes and the emissions of heated tobacco products, in addition to the harmful ‘tobacco smoke’.
With concerns about the current provisions protecting children still unresolved, the report suggests that countries that have not yet extended the current ban do so also in other places where young people might be present such as sport venues, playgrounds, open stadiums, as well as introduce a smoking ban in private cars and other areas when minors are present. Finally, it proposes a joint system of inspections and complaints with hotlines for the general public, together with overall greater cooperation between countries.