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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Public consultation on revision of the tobacco products Directive

Today (24 September) the Commission launches a public consultation on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC). The Commission invites all stakeholders to give their input on the different options and to comment on possible measures to improve awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, increase motivation to quit and discourage initiation of smoking. Examples of such measures that could be considered are bigger, double-sided health pictorial warnings on cigarette packages, plain packaging and the regulation of harmful, addictive and attractive substances in tobacco products. This consultation is an important step towards the adoption of a legislative proposal planned for beginning of 2012. EU Health Commissioner John Dalli said: "Tobacco is not a product like any other: it is addictive and it means illness and suffering for our citizens and avoidable healthcare spending for European governments. And, still, 30% of Europeans smoke. I am particularly concerned with the 35% of young Europeans who smoke. " To conclude: " On the eve of World Heart Day I want to remind Europeans that all tobacco exposure -- smoking, second-hand smoke or chewing - can increase the risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular problems".

What are the current rules?

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 bans terms such as "light", "mild" or "low tar".

Source: European Commission