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Parliament puts citizens’ health above tobacco industry profit

GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed Parliament's adoption of a revision of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Today's vote was the final plenary vote on the controversial file that saw the tobacco industry lead an intense lobbying campaign in attempt to derail it.

The Irish MEP commented: “I'm delighted that the Parliament has given its seal of approval to this crucially important Directive. While there remains parts of the final text that could have been better in terms of putting public health before industry profit, overall the text is a hugely positive step in the right direction.”

Anderson continued: “Tobacco contains over 4000 chemicals, and we know that 250 of these chemicals are harmful to humans. Global tobacco companies make astronomical profits: in 2010 alone the US tobacco industry made 664 billion dollars of profit, a sum greater than the GDP of 18 nations. At the same time 700,000 people die every year in the EU from tobacco-related deaths.

“It's easy to throw around these types of statistics like confetti, but we have to remember that behind the figures are people's mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

“This Directive will prevent young people from taking up smoking as characterising flavours which are clearly designed to increase the palatability of cigarettes to young taste buds will be banned, as will lipstick and perfume packs that are designed to appeal to young girls,” explained Anderson. “65% pictorial image warnings will now be obligatory on the front and back of cigarette packs and pouches, and additives that give the impression of health benefits, such as vitamins and caffeine, will also be banned.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group