People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
Article 14: cessation
The European Commission could improve tobacco control measures after it recently announced a public consultation process to assess possible changes to its Tobacco Products Directive.
The commission is inviting all stakeholders to comment on possible measures to improve awareness about the dangers of smoking; increase the motivation to quit smoking; and discourage taking up smoking.
Measures to be considered are:
• Larger mandatory pictorial warnings on both the front and back of packages, and towards the top of the front/back.
• Standarised plain packaging.
• Curbs on flavours and other ingredients.
• Bans on retail displays, vending machines and internet sales.
European health organisations view this consultation as an important step towards adopting a legislative proposal planned for the beginning of 2012, but expect the tobacco industry to fight any proposed changes to the directive. The consultation deadline is 19 November 2010.
The EC’s announcement comes at a time when the Canadian government has decided to shy away from harder -hitting tobacco legislation.
Recently, Ottawa announced it would stop all plans to require tobacco companies to update cigarette package warnings with larger and more grotesque images.
Instead, the government will focus on the problem of contraband cigarettes – an issue the tobacco industry highlighted.
Anti-tobacco lobby groups view this decision as a major disappointment and attribute it to the government being afraid to take on the major cigarette companies.
“I would expect that the tobacco industry has been lobbying against these warnings just as they have lobbied against improvements to warnings on tobacco packages over the last 20 years,” Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, told the Globe and Mail newspaper.