Thousands of tobacconists marched on the EU headquarters in Brussels yesterday to protest against a planned crackdown on tobacco products that includes the imposition of graphic pack health warnings, according to a France 24 story.
The protesters were mainly from France and Italy, but also from Austria, Germany and Poland: 2,200 according to the police; 3,500 according to organisers.
They were protesting against measures they say harm small retailers and encourage cigarette smuggling.
“Brussels is hitting at official distribution networks while nothing is done against smuggling”, said the deputy head of the European Confederation of Tobacco Retailers (CEDT), Pascal Montredon, who heads the French branch.
He said the EU should ban cigarette sales on the internet and stop the continual increase in prices in some countries.
Six thousand of France’s 33,000 tobacconists had closed since 2004, he added.
Last month, the European Commission published details of it recommendations for the revision of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive.
The recommendations included those on increasing the size of health warnings, banning characterizing tobacco flavors, banning slim cigarettes and banning packs containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
They seek to leave in place the ban on snus outside of Sweden and to discourage the use of electronic cigarettes. The consumption of each of these products is seen by many people to be hugely less harmful than is the consumption of traditional cigarettes.
Category: Breaking News