The European Tobacco Products Directive
The EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a set of rules that has been agreed and implemented across all European Union member states, which specifies how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented and sold.
The European Commission is proposing to update the TPD and introduce a raft of new restrictions on the types and minimum quantities of tobacco products that can be sold.
The revisions to the TPD are being progressed despite the majority of 85,000 respondents to a Public Consultation during 2010-11 opposing the changes on the grounds that they would restrict consumer choice, damage legitimate business interests and fuel the illicit trade in tobacco products.
The main changes that would affect your business are:
- a ban on existing product categories. For example menthol cigarettes would disappear along with any other tobacco products with a ‘characterising flavour’;
- the introduction of minimum pack sizes of 20 cigarettes and 40g pouches of hand rolling tobacco. No smaller pack sizes would be permitted, so packs of 10 and 19 cigarettes would disappear, along with 12.5g and 25g pouches of loose tobacco; and
- more restrictions on pack designs and much larger health warnings .
There is no credible evidence to prove that these measures will stop young people from taking up smoking or cause adult smokers to quit.
Indeed, the rise in minimum pack sizes could force adult smokers to ‘supersize’ their consumption. There are also concerns that even more adult smokers will turn to the illicit market in order to find the products they want at a price they are able to afford.
TPD is another example of poor legislation, which carries dangerous unintended consequences and which is being forced through despite overwhelming opposition to the legislators’ own consultation on the issues.