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Proposed tobacco products Directive – going up in smoke?

The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee will be conducting enhanced scrutiny of the EU's proposed revision of the Tobacco Products Directive on Wednesday 6 March.

More than ten years after the European Commission adopted the Tobacco Products Directive and, following developments in marketing, science and international developments, the Commission has decided it is necessary to update the Directive.

After a controversy resulting in the resignation of the former Maltese EU Health Commissioner at the end of last year, the Commission published its much-anticipated proposal for a revised Directive on 19 December 2012.

The proposal consists of new and strengthened rules on how tobacco products can be manufactured, presented, and sold, as well as new measures for products that were not specifically regulated so far, such as e-cigarettes and herbal products for smoking. Specifically, the Commission's proposed revision of the Directive includes provisions on the labelling and packaging of products; their ingredients; smokeless tobacco items; the extension of the Directive's scope; selling tobacco merchandise across Member States' borders and the illicit trade in tobacco products.

At 11am, the Committee will be hearing oral evidence from:

  • Jean King, Director of Tobacco Control, Cancer Research UK; and
  • Jaine Chisholm Caunt, Secretary General, Tobacco Manufacturer's Association.

The Committee will question the witnesses on issues including:

  • whether they agree that the Directive needs to be updated and, if so, if the current proposals is in line with the results of the Commission's 2010 public consultation;
  • if the scientific evidence for the proposal is sufficiently robust;
  • if the sale and marketing of current non-tobacco products, which still contain nicotine, mislead consumers by creating the impression that they are less harmful;
  • whether the proposal will help to combat the illegal trade in tobacco products across the EU; and
  • if other measures adopted in the UK, including the banning of vending machines and pictorial warnings on packaging, are appropriate and effective in reducing smoking levels.

The evidence session will take place at 11am on Wednesday 6 March in Committee Room 3.

The sessions will be webcast live at and are also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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