Brussels, 14 March 2014 — Today the Council endorsed the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) reached with the European Parliament last December. After more than three years of delays and policy making, today’s decision delivers to people living in Europe a tobacco regulation better able to protect us from misleading marketing.
The new TPD does not set global standards on public health protection - see the example of Uruguay and Australia. Yet, this new legislation updates EU Member States tobacco control measures and allows them to adopt more stringent measures to regulate tobacco products, such as standardised packaging.
Among other measures, the reviewed Tobacco legislation increases the size of the pictorial and text health warnings to cover 65% of tobacco packages and bans flavoured cigarettes and features on packaging that play down the health risks of smoking. EU Member States will have two years to transpose the new directive into national law.
In Europe around 700,000 people die every year from smoking-related causes and close to 13 million suffer from smoking-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Smoking in Europe has devastating effects not only on societies and healthcare systems, but also economically as the estimated annual cost of tobacco to the European economy is more than half a trillion euros, or about 4.6% of EU GDP.
Tobacco packaging is carefully designed by the tobacco industry to lure a particular range of consumers - for example, slim cigarettes target women and coloured packaging is appealing to children. The new TPD will make tobacco packages less attractive to these demographic groups.