The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

FCAers laud European court decision on tobacco control measures

European Court of Justice decisionFCA members are applauding a European Court of Justice decision on 4 May that dismisses the tobacco industry’s challenge of the measures in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

The measures come into force on 20 May 2016 and include:

  •  large graphic warnings covering 65 percent of the front and the back of packs of cigarettes and roll-your own products;
  • minimum sizes of health warnings and a ban on certain types of packs such as slim packs, and
  • a ban on flavoured tobacco (a ban on menthol is scheduled for 2020).

The court clarified that EU Member States may go further than requirements set out in the Directive with regard to packaging, which will enable countries to bring in standardised packaging. France, Ireland and the UK have already passed laws on plain packaging, which come into force on 20 May.

UK plain packs OK

“The European Court of Justice decision is welcome if not surprising,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH. “The Directive is lawful and the UK is allowed to go further than the Directive in standardising tobacco packs with respect to matters not harmonised by the Directive.”

As of 26 April, eight EU states had applied the TPD in national legislation, according to FCA member Smoke Free Partnership (SFP).

Countries must 'step up'

“With the legal uncertainties out of the way, it is now high time for European countries to step up the implementation of this crucial act as of its entry into force in just over two weeks’ time,” said SFP Director Florence Berteletti.

“Ahead of this year’s World No Tobacco Day on plain packaging, we also welcome that the Directive permits the implementation of stronger measures such as standardised packaging at national level, an option that three Member States will implement shortly and a few others are pondering at present,” added Florence.

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