Tobacco Products Directive
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) of the European Union (EU) regulates the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products in the Member states of the EU. In particular, it covers the use of health warnings on packets, the prohibition of descriptions such as 'mild' or 'light', the maximum tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields, and the prohibition of the sale of tobacco for oral use (the latter applying to countries other than Sweden).
Possible Revision of the TPD
The current Directive dates from 2001. Scientific and policy developments since, and the requirement to ensure both the smooth functioning of the internal market given the varying levels of policy implementation between Member States, raised concerns that the Directive needed updating. Moreover, the European Union Treaty underlines the need for a high level of health protection to be ensured in all EU policies. In the last quarter of 2010 the EU, therefore, held a public consultation on possible revisions to the TPD. The aim of the consultation was to ascertain stakeholders' opinions on the need for a revision and the policy options of such a revision. The policy options consulted on included a proposal to introduce Plain Packaging:
Plain or generic packaging would standardise the appearance of tobacco packaging. Manufacturers would only be allowed to print brand and product names, the quantity of the product, health warnings and other mandatory information such as security markings. The package itself would be plain coloured (such as white, grey or plain cardboard). The size and shape of the package could also be regulated.
The draft proposal from the European Commission's Directorate General for Health and Consumer Policy (DG SANCO) was initially announced for the end of 2011 but then postponed to early 2012. In February 2012, the press service of Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, confirmed a further delay and said that the proposal for revision of the Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC) is now planned after the summer of 2012.
The stagnation of the review process appears to be partly caused by the high level of interest from stakeholders, and partly by the complexity of the EU's impact assessment system. The consultation round solicited the highest ever response in the EU's history (85,000). The bulk of contributions came from the tobacco industry. Organising the high response can be understood as an essential element of an effective tactic to delay further regulation of tobacco.
Further to this intense lobbying by the tobacco industry and its allies, it was announced on 16 October 2012 that Commissioner John Dalli had resigned over allegations made by Swedish Match related to the review of the TPD. This event threatens to further delay the TPD review. And delay is dangerous.
The current legislature of the EU Council and the European Parliament will end in 2014. If the Review of the TPD is not finished before then, the Revision as such is at stake.
Revision of TPD in Motion
After the forced resignation of EU Health Commissioner John Dalli, the fear for yet another delay in revision of the Tobacco Products Directive was widely shared. Advocates of tobacco control were afraid that it would take months or even years to get better regulation in place. But on 19 December 2012, within a month after his appointment, the new Commissioner Tonio Borg announced the revision of the TPD and the college adopted the proposal. Meanwhile, campaigners for transparency and Members of European Parliament are still waiting for answers about the scale of corporate influence on the new regulation.
Related TobaccoTactics Resources
For more background on the TPD see these pages:
- TPD: Pictorial Warnings and Standardised, Plain Packaging
- TPD: Delaying the Process of Consultation
- TPD: DalliGate
- TPD: DalliGate Burglaries
- A list of all pages in the category Tobacco Products Directive of the European Union.
- ↑ The full text of the 2001 TPD can be found here Directive 2001/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2001 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products - Commission statement, accessed February 2012
- ↑ European Union website, Public consultation on the possible revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC, undated, also see the EU Public Consultation Document, 2010, accessed 3 June 2011
- ↑ Library of the European Parliament, Reducing Smoking Rates in the EU.Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive, Library Briefing 30 Sept 2011, accessed 3 January 2012
- ↑ Europolitics.org, Revision of tobacco directive postponed, 23 February 2012, accessed February 2012
- ↑ Europa, Press statement on behalf of the European Commission, 16 October 2012, accessed 17 October 2012
- ↑ Smoke Free Partnership, Dalli resignation - SFP statement, 16 October 2012, accessed 17 October 2012
- ↑ Nessa Childers, MEPs will resist lobbying and fight for strong EU tobacco law, MEP Releases, 19 December 2012, accessed 19 December