Regulation of Tobacco Products

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Regulation of tobacco products in the broader sense, i.e. the production and trading of tobacco products, and stipulations on the locations where smoking is allowed and/or not allowed, are not a phenomenon of our time, but has been in operation on European soil for almost as long as tobacco has been consumed in Europe.

As regulation is frequently associated with an intrusion into areas of daily life which are either protected or worthy of protection, and/or are of economic or fiscal significance, trade and industry associations and lobby groups have formed in European countries.

Increasing internationalization of tobacco control policy

Until the end of the 20th century, the control and regulation of the trade in tobacco products and their consumption have exclusively been a matter of the EU nation states.

This picture has changed insofar as European and international efforts have complemented national endeavours – now in place for several years – to control tobacco on a domestic level.

Under the aegis of the World Health Organization, for example, the so-called Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was adopted in 2003. It came into force on 27 February 2005 and has been signed by 168 States (including by the European Union and the 27 Member States). At the European level, inter alia, the Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC as well as the Advertising Directive 2003/33/EC were adopted and have meanwhile been ratified into national law by the Member States.

“Ideas instead of bans”

The task of the ETV is to act as a source of ideas in dialogue with national legislators and administration and to raise sector-specific issues and alternative courses of action that contribute to an appropriate and effective regulation in regard to the legitimate aims, of particularly, protecting children and young people. Our focus naturally is on those topics, issues and regulations affecting and concerning the function of the wholesale trade, for example, the development and introduction of technology on cigarette-vending machines to protect minors.

Moreover, we perceive our role as endeavouring to ensure that European regulations are drafted in such a way that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are respected.

…“Concluding my statement, I should like to point out that, as long as a channel of distribution is there, it can be regulated (as happens in Member States), controlled and monitored. As long as it is there, legal operators will operate legally and enforce age verification regulations professionally and responsibly. The same is not true for illicit trade, which is always ready to take up inadvertently created opportunities“.

Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive / Vending Machines
Statement by Mr. Paul Heinen, President of the European Tobacco Wholesalers Association (E.T.V.), at the meeting with Commissioner John Dalli on 7th March 2012

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