The French Senate’s Social Affairs Committee yesterday removed a clause from a proposed health bill that would have required standardized tobacco packaging, according to a story in the Guardian relayed by the TMA.
The committee instead passed an amendment requiring tobacco-pack health warnings to be made larger, in line with the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
As the committee debated the bill, tobacconists opposed to standardized packaging dumped four tons of carrots outside the ruling Socialist party’s headquarters in Paris. They chose carrots because they resemble the sign that hangs outside French tobacconists.
Earlier this month, tobacconists protested against the imposition of standardized packaging and high cigarette prices by covering speed cameras with black trash bags, some of which were painted with slogans.
At that time, Joaquim Rompante, president of the tobacconist union in the Gironde region, was quoted as saying that standardized packaging would be “the death of tobacconists”.
He said France’s 26,000 tobacconists employed 100,000 people and that standardized packaging would create unemployment.
The tobacconists’ union Confédération des Buralistes welcomed the committee’s decision to take out the standardized packaging clause, with its spokesperson Pascal Montredon saying that tobacconists wanted nothing more than the application of the TPD.
The health bill was approved by the National Assembly on April 3 and the government could reintroduce the standardized packaging clause when the bill returns to the assembly in September.