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What is the current status of the draft Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

November 2009, Brussels - This article is to provide information on the current timeline and decision-making process regarding the draft Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments.

On 30 June 2009, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments. The draft Recommendation is currently being discussed within the European Parliament and the Council.

The Council is currently negotiating the draft Recommendation under the Swedish presidency, and it intends to adopt it on 1 December 2009. Negotiations are also ongoing in the European Parliament. On 4 November 2009, rapporteur Edite Estrela posed an oral question to the Council, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, regarding the lack of time to debate the draft Recommendation. The oral question was then adopted by the Committee: 45 in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions. The final Parliament negotiations on the Resolution will take place in Strasbourg on 25 November.

The Smoke Free Partnership welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments. In order to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the Recommendation, the SFP has made a number of comments and suggested amendments, in the form of a position paper.

The main points from our position paper are:

  • Introducing standardised packaging, as recommended by paragraph 46 of the Article 11 Guidelines of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, would greatly add to the combined warnings as referred to in Article 3 (b). You can read our case for standardised packaging here.
  • The proposed structure of the national focal points (Article 6) is vague. It is imperative that the structure and reporting procedure of the national focal points is further clarified. Further, the ‘coherent framework’ (Article 7) for national focal points should be strongly defined with benchmarks and indicators based on FCTC criteria and a clear timeline.
  • In accordance with FCTC guidelines on Article 5.3, tobacco control efforts need to be protected from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry is not a relevant stakeholder in tobacco control debate.

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The Smoke Free Partnership receives project funding from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease under the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
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