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SFP Press release: Tobacco Products Directive upheld in Court opinion

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Brussels - SFP is delighted to see that the Advocate General’s Opinions uphold measures that intended to protect the health of hundreds of millions of EU citizens.

BRUSSELS, 23 DECEMBER 2015 – Today the Advocate General struck a blow against the tobacco industry’s scurrilous efforts to undermine public health in Europe through court cases aimed at intimidating governments.

SFP is delighted to see that the Advocate General’s Opinions uphold measures that intended to protect the health of hundreds of millions of EU citizens, in particular children and adolescents, within the framework of the Internal Market. Industry’s efforts to undermine public health based on weak argumentation have once again failed.

In particular, SFP welcomes the clear and strong Opinion regarding the provisions for mandatory pictorial warnings, including the minimum size of warnings on tobacco packets. These provisions are important for Europe as they effectively set a minimum size of packs for cigarettes and roll-your own tobacco. Furthermore, the Opinion confirms the provisions that allow Member States to introduce more stringent measures regarding tobacco products, including plain standardised packaging, which is an important tool to prevent youth smoking. To date, Ireland, the UK and France have adopted legislation to introduce this measure, and Hungary has notified draft legislation.

SFP director Florence Berteletti said: “Today’s opinions state that the ultimate goal of Internal Market rules is to serve the health and well-being of EU citizens. Even if the tobacco industry acts as if it can get away with murder, this year has been a very bad year for them. Losing one court case after another shows that the industry’s strategy to spend governments’ time and resources in litigation fails to intimidate any more. The Tobacco Products Directive was a major step forward in public health in the EU, one that the Court must continue to uphold, to the benefit to Europeans and as an example to the rest of the world.”

The Court of Justice will deliver its final judgments in the next few months. SFP has confidence that the Court will follow the clear Advocate General Opinions. In the meantime, SFP and its Coalition partners call on EU Member States to accelerate the transposition and implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive ahead of its entry into force on 20 May 2016.

Note to editors:

Based on the initial information published by the Court, the Advocate General rejected all three cases:

- The case brought by Poland (supported by Romania) challenging the ban on menthol cigarettes (link to Opinion);

- The request for a preliminary Opinion brought by Philip Morris and other manufacturers seeking the annulment of the entire Directive or specific provisions relating to ingredients, mandatory pictorial warnings, minimum size of health warnings, and the provisions which allow Member States to introduce stricter measures such as plain standardized packaging (link to the case)

- The request for a preliminary Opinion brought by Totally Wicked seeking the annulment of the provisions related to the regulation of e-cigarettes (link to the case)

Contact: Anca Toma Friedlaender, SFP Senior Policy Advisor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +32.498.457.367

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