EU Health Ministers need to agree on strong tobacco policy and stop 650,000 Europeans from dying each year
20 June 2013, Brussels –
Europe pays a hefty price for its slow action on tobacco, both in economic costs and harm to its citizens’ health and well-being (1). Tomorrow, EU Health Ministers will meet to agree a common position on the revised, smarter Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) (2)
This week five committees of the European Parliament (4) are giving their non-binding opinions on the revision of the TPD in a disappointing affair that widely prioritises the interests of the tobacco industry (5) at the expense of people’s health. If European policy-makers keep on basing their decisions on arguments by the tobacco lobby, the final Directive will resemble a tobacco industry report. Additionally, if the approval of the tobacco legislation does not occur by the end of the year, it would put its adoption dangerously close to the next European Parliament’s elections, putting the hard-fought political process back to square one.
In a letter co-signed by ECC this week, eight public health organisations stress that the current political procedure around an updated TPD represents a window of opportunity to better control the marketing of an addictive product that kills half of its users when used as intended. Some of the letter’s signatories spell out why Health Ministers, Members of the European Parliament and national authorities should take this piece of legislation seriously.