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December 19th, 2012:

Tobacco products: towards bigger health warnings and ban of strong flavourings

Tobacco products: towards bigger health warnings and ban of strong flavourings

Reference: IP/12/1391 Event Date: 19/12/2012

Other available languages : FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL CS ET HU LT LV MT PL SK SL BG RO

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 19 December 2012

Tobacco products: towards bigger health warnings and ban of strong flavourings

Today, after years in the making, the European Commission has adopted its proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive. The proposed legislation consists of new and strengthened rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold. More specifically, it bans the use of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco (RYO) and smokeless tobacco products with characterising flavours and makes the use of large pictorial health warnings mandatory on cigarettes and RYO. It regulates cross border internet sale and foresees technical features to combat illicit trade. Moreover, measures are proposed for products that were not specifically regulated so far such as e-cigarettes and herbal products for smoking. Chewing and nasal tobacco will be subject to specific labelling and ingredient regulations. The existing ban for oral tobacco (snus) shall be maintained.

On the occasion of the proposal’s adoption, Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg said: “We delivered! The European Commission had promised a proposal on tobacco products by the end of 2012, and that’s what I’m presenting today to Health ministers and the European Parliament. The figures speak for themselves : tobacco kills half of its users and is highly addictive. With 70% of the smokers starting before the age of 18, the ambition of today’s proposal is to make tobacco products and smoking less attractive and thus discourage tobacco initiation among young people”. He added that “Consumers must not be cheated: tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products and this proposal ensures that attractive packaging and flavourings are not used as a marketing strategy.”

Why a revision of EU law?

The current Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC) dates from 2001. Since then, significant scientific, market and international developments have taken place. For example, new evidence on flavourings used in tobacco products and effectiveness of health warnings has become available. Novel products such as electronic cigarettes have entered the market and recent marketing strategies involve the use of attractive packaging and flavours. At international level, the EU and all of its Member States have ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which entered into force in February 2005. As a consequence, some of the current provisions of the Directive have become outdated. Member States have also taken different regulatory approaches resulting in a divergence between Member States’ laws on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products.

The new proposal is responding to these developments and to requests from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers as well as the Commission’s own report on the Application of the Tobacco Products Directive of 2007 and 2009, which identified potential areas for improvement.

Main elements of the proposal:

The proposal foresees major revisions of the current Directive. It addresses in particular the following areas:

  • Labelling and Packaging: All cigarette and Roll Your Own packages must contain a combined picture and text health warning covering 75% of the front and the back of the package and must carry no promotional elements. The current information on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, which is perceived as misleading, is replaced by an information message on the side of the pack that tobacco smoke contains more than 70 substances causing cancer. Member States remain free to introduce plain packaging in duly justified cases.
  • Ingredients: An electronic reporting format for ingredients and emissions will be introduced. The proposal foresees a prohibition for cigarettes, roll your own tobacco and smokeless tobacco that have characterising flavours and a prohibition of products with increased toxicity and addictiveness.
  • Smokeless tobacco: The ban on oral tobacco products (snus) is maintained, except for Sweden which has an exemption. All smokeless tobacco products must carry health warnings on the main surfaces of the package and products with characterising flavours cannot be sold. Novel tobacco products require prior notification.
  • Extension of the scope of the Directive : Nicotine Containing Products (e.g. electronic cigarettes) below a certain nicotine threshold are allowed on the market, but must feature health warnings; above this threshold such products are only allowed if authorised as medicinal products, like nicotine replacement therapies. Herbal cigarettes will have to carry health warnings.
  • Cross border distance sales: A notification for internet retailers and age verification mechanism are foreseen to ensure that tobacco products are not sold to children and adolescents.
  • Illicit trade: A tracking and tracing system and security features (e.g. holograms) are foreseen to ensure that only products complying with the Directive are sold in the EU.

Process and Timelines

The proposal has been adopted following extensive consultation of stakeholders including a public consultation which generated 85,000 responses. During its preparation, a thorough impact assessment has been carried out, evaluating economic, social and health effects of several policy options under consideration. Several external studies were commissioned during the process.

As a next step, the proposal will be discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers. It is expected to be adopted in 2014. It would come into effect from 2015-2016.

Further information:


Press Release] The revised Tobacco Directive – the beginning of the end of tobacco industry led policy-making?

19 December, BrusselsEPHA welcomes today’s release of the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) by Health Commissioner Borg. With stronger measures on e-cigarettes, tobacco flavouring and the shape of cigarettes and packs, this proposal is good news for the further protection of people’s health across Europe.

Among other proposals, the Directive recommends pictorial health warnings that cover 75% of cigarette packs. Whilst it is to be applauded as a great move to champion people’s health above corporative interests, it fails to propose mandatory plain packaging. As a host of preliminary studies made in Australia and other countries show (1), a mandatory scheme in plain packaging would go to great lengths to prevent young smokers from lighting up their smoking habit in the first place. Plain packaging is in everyone’s interest.

“Today Mr Borg kept his word that the release of the revised TPD would be one of his priorities when taking up the Health and Consumer portfolio. This long-delayed revision is a leap towards better health protection of hundreds of millions of people in Europe. I hope this is a watershed moment for the relationship between the Commission and the tobacco industry, and indicates a move towards greater transparency,“ said Monika Kosińska, Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).

The previous Directive, adopted back in 2001, has been overdue in its need for revision to take into account new evidence demonstrating the need to foster better public health in the lethal business (2) of tobacco consumption. The tobacco industry, with its enormous lobby and wealth of false claims (3), will keep on putting a huge pressure on the EU institutions and Member States in a desperate attempt to shield its profits.

“Today’s release is only the beginning. Now that the revised Tobacco Directive has entered into the co-decision (4) process, the ball is in the European Parliament and the European Council’s court. The current parliamentary term comes to an end in June 2014. If these institutions do not make sure that a people-centred Directive is approved by then, the new Parliament and next College of Commissioners will find themselves back at square one. We are hopeful there is enough political will to complete the process next year and to go even further than this proposal, and join Australia and other countries in introducing mandatory plain packaging across the EU,” according to Ms Kosińska.

► Notes to the editors

(1) On December 1ts, cigarette plain packaging laws came into force in Australia. For a comprehensive evaluation of the various studies on the positive impact of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australian and other Asian markets, visit Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011, Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill 2011, Australia’s House of Representatives.

(2) Tobacco smoking is the major cause of preventable death and disease in developed societies. Over 650.000 Europeans are killed every year because of smoking related diseases, and 13 million more are suffering as a result of their smoking.

(3) Over the last few years, the tobacco industry has been making false claims made about the TPD like “smuggling will rise with plain packaging”; “it will be more difficult for retailers to differentiate products”; “this is against property law”; or that “there is no evidence that flavours make tobacco products more attractive”.

(4) Co-decision requires consensus to be reached between the Council and the Parliament for legislation to be adopted.

Contact information

Javier Delgado Rivera, EPHA Communications Coordinator, Tel.: +32 2 233 38 76 and

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percent of people aged 15 and older smoke, are diseases related to
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British American Tobacco In E-Cigarettes Deal

BAT is poised to buy a company which develops products that provide less risky alternatives to smoking, Sky News learns.

10:26am UK, Wednesday 19 December 2012

British American Tobacco headquarters

British American Tobacco is the UK’s largest tobacco company

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

Britain’s biggest tobacco company is poised to swoop on a pioneer of some of the world’s biggest-selling electric cigarette brands, a vital new frontier in an industry buffeted by growing restrictions on its sales and marketing practices.

I have learned that British American Tobacco (BAT) will announce the acquisition of CN Creative, a Manchester-based company which specialises in the development and production of non-combustible cigarettes.

The takeover is believed to be costing BAT tens of millions of pounds, but insiders say the purchase will be of potentially far-reaching strategic importance to the group.

I understand that the deal will involve CN being acquired by BAT rather than Nicoventures, a BAT subsidiary which was set up last year to focus on what it called “the development and commercialisation of innovative regulatory approved nicotine products”.

Talks between BAT and CN Creative are understood to have been taking place for several months.

CN is one of a small number of companies to have benefited from the Government’s £200m Future Technologies Fund, which was set up by the last Labour administration to give British companies a stronger foothold in life sciences.

Among the Manchester-based company’s products is Intellicig, which it claims is the world’s best e-cigarette, selling in 26 countries around the world, including in the UK.

CN Creative also manufactures ECOpure, a nicotine-based product, and is developing a new generation of products under the name Nicadex that the company says “will exist under the medicines regulatory framework as a smoking cessation device/drug”.

CN Creative is chaired by Dale Pfost, a partner at Advent Life Sciences, one of the company’s investors. The company’s founders are likely to make a substantial multimillion pound sum from the takeover by BAT.

The tobacco industry’s biggest players are seeking to develop credible products which provide alternatives to smoking at a time when pressure on major companies is unrelenting.

New European Union proposals to put graphic images warning of the dangers of smoking have faced intense lobbying from the industry but are widely-viewed as inevitable.

BAT is run by Nicandro Durante, an Italian, who replaced long-serving chief executive Paul Adams two years ago.

The company declined to comment on the CN Creative deal.

Tobacco – One thousand million deaths by the end of this century caused directly by a defective consumer product that kills when used as directed by the manufacturer

Download PDF : mpower flyerA4 web EN

About the Tobacco Campaign

child smoking

Tobacco Is Still a Deadly Killer

In 1994, seven CEOs of the largest tobacco corporations stood before Congress under the hot glare of TV cameras and the intense scrutiny of the American public. One executive after another swore they didn’t know nicotine was addictive. All seven were lying.

Decades later, thanks to the campaigning of Corporate Accountability International and allied organizations, those lies have been exposed and the tobacco industry’s influence in the United States has been diminished. The industry can no longer splash sexy ads across magazine back covers and billboards, youth-targeted marketing like Joe Camel has been retired and a vast majority of establishments are now smoke-free.

So for those living in the U.S., it can be easy to forget that tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of death worldwide.

But the fact is, Big Tobacco has effectively exported the epidemic from the wealthiest countries to the people of the Global South.

  • In 2008, Philip Morris International (PMI) split from its U.S.-based parent corporation and set up its headquarters in Switzerland so it could have freer rein to set up shop around the world.
  • Today, British American Tobacco (BAT) (headquartered in the U.K.) has market strongholds in Nigeria, Brazil, Indonesia and Canada.
  • Japan Tobacco (JT) (headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and Geneva, Switzerland and majority-owned by the Japanese government) has entered into strategic agreements with other tobacco corporation to sell
  • brands like Camel around the world.

Having shifted its focus, the industry targets what it sees as “expansion markets.” In human terms, that means, for example, upwardly mobile women in the Philippines or children in Bogotá,

Colombia who buy single cigarettes from street vendors. Big Tobacco continues to addict children, women, and people of all ages, with dire consequences.

Every year, nearly six million people die from tobacco-related diseases.

The Global Tobacco Treaty Saves Lives

To tackle this lethal problem, people around the world have united behind a global tobacco treaty, officially known as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on

Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

It locks in the world’s most effective tobacco control and corporate accountability measures and, when it’s fully implemented, will save more than 200 million lives in the

coming decades. More about the Global Tobacco Treaty.

Big Tobacco Wants to Cheat Progress. We Won’t Let It

Of course, the tobacco industry doesn’t want the global tobacco treaty to succeed. All across the world, the industry is trying to get in the way of good policymaking. It poses the greatest threat to the

treaty’s success and its ability to save lives.

Working with partners like you, we are committed to clearing Big Tobacco out of the way of treaty progress. In doing so, we are setting a powerful precedent for corporate accountability

across industries. More about industry interference.

We Run Smart Campaigns and Forge Strong Alliances

In partnership with our allies, we’ve paved the way for the adoption of the global tobacco treaty: the first ever public health and corporate accountability treaty.

Challenging Big Tobacco at Home

We launched the campaign to Challenge Big Tobacco in 1993, targeting U.S.-based industry leaders. We mobilized millions of people in consumer boycotts, exposing the falsehoods behind

the “family friendly” images of the tobacco-corporation-owned brands Kraft and Nabisco. Ultimately, the public pressure succeeded in compelling RJR to spin-off Nabisco and Philip Morris

to do the same for Kraft.

Working with partner organizations, Corporate Accountability International brought about significant changes in the United States. For instance, we helped retire the youth-targeted brand icons

Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, which was described by its creator as the perfect image to capture the youth market’s fancy.

We also helped build the public and political climate leading to the Master Settlement Agreement. It compelled Big Tobacco to pay out $246 billion in health care costs used to treat tobacco-related disease. And we worked to pass a landmark law in 2009 regulating tobacco products. More about the campaign’s early successes.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Corporate Accountability International advocated strong tobacco control policies. Slowly but surely, these have become law but not before significant obstacles were thrown up by Big Tobacco. That’s why we continue to challenge the industry in the United States. More about our U.S. work.

Challenging Big Tobacco Around the World

After helping rein in the industry in the U.S., we broadened our focus. We understood that halting the global export of this epidemic would take a global community working in partnership.

So we founded the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT) – a coalition of more than 100 organizations in 50 countries. NATT ensures a strong, unified voice

that was crucial in securing the adoption of the global tobacco treaty and now in advocating its implementation. Meet the NATT leadership team.

The global partners we support and work alongside are earning accolades for the lifesaving work they do in their regions. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the largest philanthropist of global tobacco control efforts, has twice awarded NATT members the prestigious Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control: Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria in 2009 and Corporate Accountability International in Colombia, led by Yul Francisco Dorado in 2012

Global Tobacco Control Updates

Global Tobacco Control Updates

Philip Morris International Nominated to Corporate Hall of Shame

23 Oct 2012
Tobacco Unfiltered Blog

Philip Morris International (PMI) has scored a well-deserved nomination to Corporate Accountability International’s 2012 Corporate Hall of Shame for its legal bullying of countries that have adopted strong measures to reduce tobacco use.

The world’s largest multinational tobacco company with billions of dollars in profits at its disposal (CTA: thanks to investors’ money placed with them through Stock Exchanges) , Philip Morris in recent years has used lawsuits and international trade disputes to fight bold tobacco control policies in Australia, Norway, Uruguay and other countries.

Fortunately, countries are fighting back and showing that Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies can be defeated. Recent examples:

§  In August, Australia’s high court upheld the country’s first-in-the-world law requiring that all cigarettes be sold in plain packaging, rejecting a lawsuit by Philip Morris and other tobacco companies. Philip Morris is still challenging the law as a violation of a bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. Australia will require the plain cigarette packs starting December 1.

§  In September, a court in Norway upheld that country’s ban on displaying tobacco products in stores, rejecting a complaint by Philip Morris that the ban violated a trade agreement. Philip Morris subsequently decided not to appeal the ruling, which is expected to spur other countries to implement similar policies.

§  Philip Morris is still suing Uruguay under a bilateral investment treaty, challenging laws that increased the size of cigarette warning labels and limited each cigarette brand to one pack variation in an effort to stop deceptive branding. A recent study found that these policies have helped to dramatically reduce smoking in Uruguay.

It’s clear that Philip Morris International puts profits ahead of health and lives, making the company a worthy candidate for the 2012 Corporate Responsibility Hall of Shame.

Philip Morris is the world’s largest and most profitable publicly traded tobacco company, operating in approximately 160 countries. Along with other tobacco companies, it has increased efforts to market products in low- and middle-income countries, where 80 percent of the world’s smokers live. Unless countries stand up to the bullying of these tobacco giants and take strong action to save lives, tobacco use will kill one billion people in the 21st century.

So vote for Philip Morris International as the 2012 Corporate Hall of Shame winner.

Plain packaging: The story of ‘Bryan – Aged 34′ | 3AW DRIVE–aged-34/20121219-2bmpg.html


NICK MCCALLUM: They’re offensive, heartbreaking, shocking, appalling and make you physically sick. But they are entirely appropriate.

They’re new warnings on Australian cigarette packets that picture a handsome, perfectly healthy 33-year-old Bryan Curtis in one corner and then the main picture is Bryan just 10 weeks later, a skeleton, unconscious, on death’s door.

The photos are haunting…the story behind them even more so…

Bryan was an American mechanic and tradesman, a victim of lung cancer after smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

When he was dying in 1999, Bryan asked his family to get his story out there as a warning to others.

So these pictures were taken just hours before he died and published in a Florida newspaper.

And now 13-years-later they’ve made it all the way here to our cigarettes packets.

It’s reported in The Age smokers are now asking sellers to exchange packets when they receive one with these photos on them.

They’re disgusted, they’re revolted, they can’t cope. Good!

It’s a sad legacy for poor Bryan but just the legacy he wanted.

I’m not a smoker, never have been, but I can’t imagine how anyone could take a cigarette out of a packet featuring Bryan’s two pictures and smoke it. You just couldn’t do it.

We couldn’t contact Bryan Curtis’s family in America so I recorded this interview with Sue Landry the journalist with the ‘St Petersburg Times’ tell Bryan’s story all those years ago.


For more details on the story of Bryan read Rachel Well’s article in the Age.

LISTEN: Journalist Sue Landry speaks with Nick McCallum

Having problems listening? Upgrade your media player for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox.

(Click here to listen to the audio in a pop-up window)

Dominican Republic requests the establishment of World Trade Organization panel over Australian plain packaging

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:04pm EST

Geneva, 17 December 2012 – Today, the Dominican Republic requested that the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) establish a WTO panel to assess the WTO consistency of Australia’s plain packaging measures for tobacco products, which came into effect in Australia on 1 December 2012. Australia initially blocked the establishment of the WTO panel but cannot block the Dominican Republic’s second request as per WTO rules.

Plain packaging represents a dramatic interference with trademarks, and a restriction on international trade. Luis Manual Piantini, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the WTO explains:

“We are proud of our tobacco products and especially our cigars which are among the highest-quality smoking products and appreciated by millions of connoisseurs around the world. We have strived to develop an industry that is a world leader, and do not wish to see it undermined by speculative measures that will work to undermine public health. We will fight to have the WTO rules applied fairly and objectively to our developing economy.”

“The Dominican Republic shares Australia’s public health goals but plain packaging will not be effective in achieving those goals. Its effect will simply be to commoditize the tobacco market, with declining prices, and increased consumption of tobacco and illicit trade as a result.”

Full statement by the Dominican Republic:

1. Since the first day of this month, all tobacco products in Australia have to be sold in plain packaging, and have to meet other stringent requirements. Australia imposes these requirements through the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 and its implementing regulations.

2. The Dominican Republic held consultations with the Australian Government on these plain packaging measures on 27 September 2012. Unfortunately, these consultations failed to settle the dispute. In conformity with Article 6.2 of the DSU, the Dominican Republic, therefore, requests that the Dispute Settlement Body establish a panel to examine Australia’s plain packaging measures in light of its WTO obligations.

3. At the outset, the Dominican Republic wishes to emphasize that it shares Australia’s objective in seeking to protect human health. However, we are unconvinced that these plain packaging measures are an effective instrument for reducing consumption of tobacco products or indeed any other harmful product. Rather, the plain packaging measures appear to violate Australia’s obligations under both the TRIPS Agreement and the TBT Agreement.

4. The plain packaging measures represent a dramatic regulatory intrusion into the appearance of products that may be sold lawfully in Australia, literally wiping design features off tobacco packaging and individual cigarettes and cigars. These design features include trademarks and geographical indications that Members have agreed to protect under the TRIPS Agreement, and which serve the valuable purpose for both producers and consumers of differentiating products that compete lawfully on the market in Australia.

5. Turning to the TBT Agreement, these plain packaging measures restrict international trade by eliminating competitive opportunities for tobacco products that are forced to appear in the marketplace in virtually identical retail packaging.

6. The WTO system ensures that measures restricting core intellectual property rights and international trade are permissible solely insofar they are effective in serving a legitimate objective. Australia’s plain packaging measures do not meet this standard: they eviscerate the very function of trademarks and geographical indications and destroy competitive opportunities for tobacco products, with no credible evidence that they will reduce tobacco prevalence. Indeed, the evidence shows that the plain packaging measures will undermine Australia’s goal to reduce tobacco prevalence. By commoditizing the market for tobacco products, the measures will inflict price competition, resulting in lower prices and higher consumption. Further, requiring products to be sold in similar plain packaging will facilitate illicit trade.

7. The Dominican Republic has requested that, rather than introduce these plain packaging measures, Australia employ tobacco control measures that would be truly effective in reducing tobacco consumption and also consistent with its WTO obligations. Unfortunately, Australia has proceeded to introduce its plain packaging measures.

8. The Dominican Republic believes that this dispute has potential repercussions for products besides tobacco that are considered harmful, such as alcoholic beverages and processed food and beverages. Many governments wish to control consumption of these products and could equally argue that consumption will fall if they strip design features, including intellectual property, from the retail packaging. Such dramatic interference with intellectual property, and restrictions on trade, cannot be premised on speculative assumptions regarding consumer behavior but must be rooted in robust scientific evidence.

9. In closing, the Dominican Republic wishes to reflect on the detrimental impact of Australia’s measures on small and vulnerable developing economies that rely on the production and export of tobacco, and tobacco products, as part of their development strategy. In the Dominican Republic, tobacco has been an intrinsic part of our local culture and heritage for centuries.

10. In recent years, we have witnessed a considerable development success story in our tobacco sector. Through significant investments by our producers, we have transformed our industry from being an exporter of tobacco leaf to being one of the world’s premium producers of processed tobacco products, in particular cigars. Indeed, today, the Dominican Republic is the world’s largest exporter of cigars.

11. We are proud of these achievements, and conscious also of the value of such development to the employment and income of our population. We are concerned that plain packaging will eradicate this cornerstone of our economy, whilst failing to achieve Australia’s health objectives.

12. For these reasons, the Dominican Republic requests the Dispute Settlement Body to establish a panel to assess the consistency of the plain packaging requirements with Australia’s WTO obligations.

About the Dominican tobacco industry
While tobacco has been cultivated in the Dominican Republic for more than five centuries, the Dominican tobacco industry is a hundred years old. Tobacco export revenues represent 5% of total exports. Tobacco products represent 8.5% of fiscal revenue on merchandise taxation. There are around 5,500 tobacco producers, employing approximately 45,000 agricultural workers. Combined with the entire tobacco production chain, the industry generates around direct 118,000 jobs which supports approximately 350,000 people, according to information published by the Tobacco Institute of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is the largest exporter of cigars in the world.


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