We dream of a day in the not-too-distant future when the death and disease caused by tobacco is a thing of the past.
And it’s easy to see why: smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in Europe, accounting for 16 per cent of all adult deaths. Tobacco-related diseases, including cancer, affect around 13 million people worldwide.
This week, we came one giant step closer to realising our dream, thanks to a landmark vote by the European Parliament in Strasbourg that made public health history.
Their overwhelming support for a new law ushering in tough minimum standards on tobacco will mean children and young people are better protected from tobacco harm than ever before.
And that’s great news for all of us.
What this means to you and I
The new law, called the Tobacco Products Directive, means EU countries will need to meet the following conditions:
- Compulsory picture health warnings that cover 65 per cent of the upper part of each pack on both sides. Evidence shows that health warnings hammer home the dangers of smoking to young people, and we’re glad the directive reflects this evidence.
- Banning descriptions of tobacco flavours like ‘fruit’ and ‘vanilla’, which we know appeal to young people.
- Strong tracking and tracing provisions to stem illegal trade, which will help in the fight against tobacco smuggling.
- New rules for e-cigarettes. Manufacturers can either apply for them to be regulated as medicinal products, if they claim that they help people quit, or be subject to further regulation as consumer products under the directive.
Public health trumps tobacco industry tactics
We’ve followed the Tobacco Products Directive closely, working with other organisations like the Smoke Free Partnership and European Public Health Alliance, since it was first mooted back in 2012. But we weren’t alone.
The tobacco industry worked hard to subvert the draft law every step of the way, right up to the 11th hour, and we’re pleased and proud of the UK officials based in Brussels who worked equally hard to safeguard public health.
A special mention goes to Linda McAvan MEP who steered the draft law through the European Parliament. Linda has been nominated MEP of the year – a reflection of her work on TPD – and we will be rooting for her on 18 March when the results are announced.
A time for celebration….but the fight isn’t over
The UK now has two years to bring national law into line with the directive.
Of course, governments can choose to go further: we’re pleased to see the UK and Ireland considering complete standardised packaging, not just the 65 per cent minimum obligation. This would set a shining example to Europe on tobacco control. And that’s something we could all be proud of.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how the new law is introduced both here and abroad. We have concerns about e-cigarette regulation, and we want to make sure that the flexibility offered by the directive maximises the benefits and minimises the risks.
Catherine Castledine, EU Public Affairs Manager
- European Commission – Revision of Tobacco Products Directive
- European Commission – Q&A on Tobacco Products Directive
Mick Evans April 28, 2014
The hysteria from certain quarters surrounding vapes (what you may call ecigs) is worrying beyond belief.
It really isn’t a health concern any more, it’s a control thing. Sad but true.
They are clearly labelled as to contents. Which is more than you can say for cigarettes or many other things. Strangely the contents of “inhalators” are disappearing from view.
People drive cars I know, but who’d advocate stopping it because of the proven damage it does to everyone.
Then we have people advocating the use of illegal drugs (and, while the chemical may do, smoking dope doesn’t help) while denying the legal and now the harmless alternatives.
Plus, as the saying goes, rarely do you hear of someone taking a hit of nicotine destroying people, property or lives – then something like alcohol on the other hand…
Nicotine may be addictive though, having easily stopped using vapes, I’d maybe question is it not the crud that’s added that does it.
From a financial point of view, paying in against taking out – no debate – tax, NI and dying sooner, everyone is quids in from working smokers.
Smoking may not be big and clever. But, as I say is legal, and as I’ve said there are worse things.
Vapes are a boon. Unless you want the revenue from tobacco anyway.
The contents of a certain company’s inhalators is rapidly disappearing from view.
Sadly your “evangelical” comments are something we shouldn’t be “proud of”.
Read back in time and weep.
ronald ankers April 1, 2014
pollocks total pollocks i know you wont show this but you wont get another penny from me untill you change your stance on e-cigs they will save more lives than all the cancer charitys put together you encourage cancer
Carly March 19, 2014
So cancer research, supporting the ban of the most effective smoking quitting aid as yet. Oh the irony!
Iv just turned 20, have been smoking since I was 14… I manged to give up last year thanks to e-cigarettes. I don’t wheeze or cough any more or have that awful taste constantly in my mouth. I’m so much healthier.
Thanks for the support…Back to cigarettes it is then….
RobW March 19, 2014
It is appalling that CRUK support a policy that will result in MORE deaths rather than less. But is is really disgusting that CRUK will not engage with their former supporters to justify their position.
Why will CRUK not hustify it’s position?, money?, dogma? or poor leadership?, perhaps all three?.
Andy Morrison March 16, 2014
All these comments and still no response – shame on the lot of you.
Margaret Hermon March 14, 2014
Nobody available to field any of the comments ? Yet again? I see the difficulty of approving something that will take lung cancer pretty much off the urgent “to do” list but unfortunately there are loads of other cancers – or will you oppose anything that might obliterate them as well? Not looking good!
Mr fortyaday toZero March 14, 2014
what do I think? I think I tried patches and they didnt work, I tried Ecigs and this year have saved over 4000 pounds and not smoked one cigarette. I am not young but ‘fruit’ and ‘vanilla’ appeal to me where tobacco flavours most definitely do not. The thing I think most though is WHY IS CRUK SO AGAINST SOMETHING THAT HAS PROVED IT WORKS AND GETS PEOPLE OFF CIGARETTES? it appears that somebody a CRUK feels they have to get involved despite no side effects having yet been proved. Spend your time fighting actual tobacco cigs and the thousands of chemicals they create and while doing that do some REAL research into ecigs. Tell me something based on fact, not on scaremongering and stop CRUK looking like they are more interested in looking the part than helping those who are actively getting away from cigaretes
Anthonyb March 11, 2014
“We dream of a day in the not-too-distant future when the death and disease caused by tobacco is a thing of the past.”
With reference to this, the opening line. If this is your dream, why do you support something that will decimate E-cigarettes in their current form.
E-cigarette’s in their current form, have already been tipped by the financial markets, to wipe-out tobacco smoking in 10 to 15 years. Hence the reason why tobacco companies have joined the market. Their tobacco sales fell by 8% last year, while the number of people switching in the UK alone, climbed to around 1.5 million, and still rising.
As for the implementation of the EU directive into law in 2016, given the current rate of up-take. Such a law could result in political suicide. As it’s not just the possible 4 million plus users of e-cigarettes. You need to include all those around them, who are no longer affected by their tobacco smoking.
So “your dream” might well become “your worse nightmare”.
Ray Lindley March 11, 2014
I’d say as long as they are going to classify E-Cigs as tobacco products you will have a fight on you hands. I gave up smoking after 27 years & it was 100% thanks to vaping. I now enjoy my new found activity & see no reason whatsoever to apply heavy regulation to the one answer to the end of tobacco. I would like to continue to enjoy my nicotine vaping in a responsible manner as an adult. I don’t see nicotine as a problem or issue. I don’t drink or take other drugs & i choose freely to use my vaping products.
I strongly oppose the inclusion of e-cigs as a tobacco product & it makes me very angry that the government does not listen to the people who’s lives have been changed for the better by vaping.
I agree with sensible & fair responsible regulation but for the most part that already existed before the new TPD was voted for.
chris March 11, 2014
this is nothing short of GENOCIDE if you want the truth follow the MONEY but you don’t want truth DO YOU
Misty March 11, 2014
You’re crowing about not bowing to the pressure of tobacco companies, and yet you’ve been duped by them – it’s the tobacco companies’ electronic products which escape the strictest regulations under the TPD. It’s so blatant, it’s like CRUK is a puppet for “Big Tobacco” and I will not be giving either my money.
RobW March 11, 2014
Why no response CRUK, as before your ill informed and unjustifiable stance on e-cigs has alienated a large number of former supporters.
Your lack of response does your organisation no favours, if you truly believe that your policy will reduce deaths you need to justify you position and explain why the many responses are wrong. Your ongoing silence on the subject suggests you are unable to do this. Be brave, do the right thing.
john March 10, 2014
Hello CRUK. I welcome the day when one of your campaigners accosts me in the street and I can tell you face to face why I will never give any money to your organisation EVER.
Tobacco free Europe!! It would have been had the EU kept their noses out of it!
As a vaper of 14 months I know enough to stay ahead of the game and will be preparing for the ban. What worries me is that tobacco smokers of 2016 and beyond will not have this option as they wont have a clue as to what was available leading up to this travesty. They will be condemned to ineffective nrt, rubbish cigalikes from the tobacco companies or stick with smoking.
Do Mcavan and her cronies have any idea what they have done?!
Darren stone March 10, 2014
Sorry all my donations are now going to McMillan nurses the ones that have to deal with the aftermath of your decesion to take the money instead of giving a dam!
chris March 10, 2014
Not so much a tobacco-free Europe as a Europe in which tobacco users are criminalized.
Steve March 8, 2014
“A time for celebration?” Read the recent studies before you declare such a thing!
Alan Beard March 7, 2014
CRUK still no response? this is getting ridiculous. Could a part of the problem exist in the UK equivalent of this http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com.es/2012/11/despite-best-efforts-of-anti-smoking.html?m=1 -of course our FOI. doesn’t quite allow for such ease of access to data as in the USA. It really would be strange if the same level of financing by the Pharma Co was not happening in the UK to so called Health Charities. Where does the line get drawn between Pharma funded lobbying group and what the supposed purpose of a cancer research charity …”you decide”
Sue March 6, 2014
It is encouraging to see that you have concerns about ecig regulation. Big Tobacco and Pharma have convinced many to support this EU own goal which aims to restrict access to what could be the biggest public health prize of the this century. By over-regulating ecigs, it is clear that many will infer there are risks attached to vaping and continue smoking. The only people to benefit are the purveyors of NRT, with its dismal success rates, tobacco companies and the manufacturers of drugs to treat smoking related diseases.
Who can afford the proposef regulations? Only the tobacco companies who have moved into the ecig market, of course! And, do you think these tobacco companies want smokers to switch from their harmful product to one that is 99% safer? Of course not, they want to market a product that is as (un)successful as NRT and ensures as many smokers as possible continue to buy their products.
It is the many UK based SMEs that have been developing and selling products, that are covered by existing consumer regulation, that appeal to smokers and have enabled them to successfully switch from smoking to vaping.
Inclusion of ecigs in the TPD is nothing other than a disaster for public health.
For the umpteenth time, I repeat my request that the BMA, public health opinion leaders, the MHRA, the Tobacco Control Industry and other opinion leaders such as yourselves actively seek the views of experience vapers. We can help you develop policies that will ensure the benefits of ecigs can be maximised. Why do you ignore us?
Ray Burgess March 6, 2014
Please do what you are funded to do. Find a cure for cancers. Cancer rates up…. Smoking rates down. So what is ACTUALY causing cancer. What will you blame now. Oh that’s right sugar..next. When you finaly run out of “blame” will you actually use your funding for the research your name suggests.
Brian Nightingale March 5, 2014
Yes. Well done CRUK for supporting the TPD as it stands. When vapers return to smoking and smokers stop switching to e cigs because the only one on offer are deeply unsatisfying and inefficient that you feel like chucking them in the bin, we’ll remember your fine words and praise for Linda McAlvan.
Nicholas Morris March 5, 2014
Well, you wanted to know what we all think and now you do. Your lack of response shows just how much you actually care about the people who are actually affected as opposed to the imaginary ones who you have convinced yourselves might, possibly, maybe like a million to 1 shot at some nebulous point in the future be ever so slightly affected. The only victory won is for keeping yourselves in a job as long as possible & sod the rest of us.
Murder by proxy. If this is your objective then well done. It is a victory for callous self interest & tobacco perpetuation.
George March 5, 2014
If in 2016 the TPD becomes law:
Smoking increases-will you recant and apologise?
Cancer rates start slowly begin to climb to a new record high-will you recant and apologise?
Donations to your organisation begin to fall to a new record low -will you recant and apologise?
Yes I think the last one might tip the balance.
Thomas Cornec March 5, 2014
Banning e-cig progresses and giving them to tobacco industry is a progress for you?
Tobacco has never seen its sales as diminished as it is since ecig sales so much in France?
This is due to products and eliquids quality and liberty for vapers.
Letting article 18 in the TPD is slaughtering of european smokers.
European parliament should be ashamed of this! Ecig proved this is the best way to quit smoking and EP gave ecig market to tobacco industry! They’re killing people! The best weapon against tobacco now is in european people’s hand by the EFVI. We can’t rely on the parliament. Only on ourselves.
Simon March 5, 2014
Could also share on this blog the open letter sent to the European Union and printed in the New Scientist by the scientists (including those commissioned by the EU for TPD) asking them not to implement the regulations relating to e-cigarettes in its current form and complaining that their evidence had either been ignored or completely distorted? By blowing your trumpet over this bill you show no respect for the scientific evidence and are quite happy to celebrate for the one thing that could have put an end to the tobacco industry forever. Sleep well.
Paul March 4, 2014
Read the comments and weep, CRUK. Possibly even learn. The idiocy of an MEP is nothing to be applauded. Neither is your self congratulatory stance when you will be condoning 105,000 deaths. Utterly disconnected from reality.