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New Tobacco Products Directive: an achievement for public health in Europe

May 23, 2014

Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health – Every year, 700 000 Europeans die from smoking-related causes. The Tobacco Products Directive, which was published on 29 April 2014 and will enter into force on 19 May 2014, is therefore an achievement for EU public health policy. By ensuring tobacco products on the EU market look and taste like tobacco products, the new harmonised rules on tobacco and related products will help reduce the number of people who start smoking in the EU – especially the young. 

With 70% of smokers in Europe starting before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25, the ban on characterising flavours, such as fruit or menthol, which have been found to facilitate smoking uptake by masking harsher tobacco flavours, is particularly fitting. The same holds true for the ban on attractive lipstick-style cigarette packages which are often specifically targeted to girls and young women and do not ensure the full visibility of health warnings.

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