Gilda Lazar, Corporate Affairs & Communications Director, JTI Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria, made the following comments on the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), approved by the European Parliament today:
“During the months leading to this vote, we have expressed a number of concerns about the TPD:
From the beginning, EU law-makers failed to demonstrate that the TPD would achieve the claimed public health benefits. Objections have been raised on multiple occasions by Member States and key Parliament committees, but they have either been overturned or have fallen on deaf ears. Still today, concerns are being voiced over a process that is considered to be flawed.
The political pressure led by anti-tobacco interest groups outweighed the need to reflect on a balanced, fair and evidence-based proposal. Hasty and biased decisions are counter-productive and do not lead to effective legislation.
Oversizing health warnings to 65% with pictures positioned at the top of the pack and standardizing the pack shape and size (minimum of 20 cigarettes per pack and 30 grams for roll-your-own tobacco) will not raise people’s awareness of the health risks associated with smoking. Rather, retailers and consumers will find it difficult to differentiate brands – and counterfeiters will have a ready-made model to reproduce packs.
Banning ingredients such as menthol will not lead to a decrease in smoking – it will, however, give smugglers an extra opportunity to satisfy consumer demand with unregulated products.
Little consideration was given to the consequences of these disproportionate measures on market dynamics from an innovation, competition, consumer choice and cross-border trade perspective. This will be costly for Member States, the industry and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.
Now that the TPD moves on to Council for adoption, we call upon EU law-makers’ common sense to allow a workable transition period for Member States and the tobacco sector. Tobacco companies, packaging manufacturers, machinery suppliers, wholesalers and retailers must be given sufficient time to absorb these radical and complex changes.”
JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Camel, Winston and Mevius (Mild Seven). Other global brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, Glamour and LD. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and about 27,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries. For more information, visit www.jti.com