Tobacco directive ruled lawful

| May 4, 2016

Campaigners have expressed disappointment after the European Court of Justice ruled today that the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is lawful.

Poland, supported by Romania, had challenged the prohibition of menthol cigarettes, and in two other cases the High Court of Justice of England and Wales had asked the Court of Justice whether a number of provisions of the directive on tobacco products were valid.

In a press note, the U.K. smokers’ group Forest said that under the revised TPD there would be extensive standardization of packaging, including larger health warnings.

Menthol flavored cigarettes would be banned from 2020.

Forest pointed out, too, that the court had ruled that special rules for e-cigarettes were lawful.

“The Tobacco Products Directive treats adult consumers like children,” said Simon Clark, the director of Forest, which campaigned against the revised directive.

“Smokers know the health risks and they have a right to buy and consume tobacco without excessive regulations that are designed to stigmatize both the product and the user, and reduce consumer choice.”

Tobacco companies  expressed disappointment, as well. “It is regrettable that the Court has decided to endorse the proliferation of different regulations for the same product across the European Union”, said Vassilis Vovos, JTI’s Western Europe regional president.

“This ruling goes against a fundamental purpose of the EU treaty, which is to further the functioning of the internal market by way of harmonized legislation. Instead, we are left with an inexplicable decision which may lead member states to believe that they can infringe the principle of free movement of goods within the EU.”

Forest criticized also the U.K. government, accusing ministers of ignoring established parliamentary procedure when it supported the new directive.

“The implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive highlights the way the European Union imposes measures on member states with little or no public debate and very little scrutiny by national parliaments,” said Clark.

“Consumer rights have been sacrificed by unelected officials in Brussels supported by a compliant government in Westminster.”

JTI expressed concern about the deadline.

“There are only 16 days left before TPD2 comes into force,” said Vovos. “Yet the legislation is still not transposed in the majority of Member States. This leaves the industry with little clarity from the Commission and Member States on many issues. The CJEU rulings bring additional confusion.”

Category: Breaking News

Comments are closed.