The endorsement by the committee is a further step in the negotiations for the proposed Tobacco Products Directive, which is expected to be adopted before the end of the European Parliament’s current mandate in May 2014.
Following months of negotiations and despite tobacco industry-friendly results in four out of the five opinion-giving Committees, members of the ENVI Committee upheld the need to protect public health by adopting key measures to help prevent disease and deaths caused by tobacco:
- By adopting large mandatory pictorial warnings covering 75% of the front and the back of cigarette packs, roll-your-own and waterpipe tobacco, and by maintaining the ban on slim cigarettes and their attractive “lipstick packs”, MEPs reasserted that the primary goal of this key legislation is to protect children from getting hooked onto a deadly and addictive product. MEPs asserted that children should not be lured by shiny, colourful tobacco packets and pretty cigarettes.
- By adopting a ban on characterising flavours and restrictions on additives, MEPs have confirmed that tobacco should taste like tobacco, and not like menthol, fruit, or various spices. The taste of tobacco will no longer deceive young people across Europe into entering a lifelong addiction.
- By reinforcing the anti-illicit trade provisions of the draft Directive, MEPs recognised the importance of tracking and tracing measures to help control the legal supply chain and prevent smuggling, and of security features to help customs authorities better recognise and control the influx of counterfeit products into the EU.
The next stage in the negotiations will be the European Parliament Plenary vote on the report, which is due during its session between 9 and 12 September, opening the way for negotiations with the EU Council on a compromise.