“Today Parliament has voted in favour of citizens' health and against the interests of multinational tobacco companies,” said GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson, following a much anticipated plenary vote on a revision of the EU's Tobacco Products Directive.

Despite an intense lobbying campaign from the tobacco industry, a mandate was voted through by 620 votes to 43 (14 abstentions), meaning Parliament's rapporteur Linda McAvan can begin negotiations with Council to achieve an effective Directive by the end of the legislature.

Anderson commented: “The Parliament voted for 65% of cigarette packet surface to be covered with combined pictorial health warnings and for e-cigarettes not to be considered as medicines but to be nevertheless subject to authorisations. Member States will be free to authorise where sales take place.

She continued: “The aims of the tobacco industry can never be reconciled with those of public health and the measures proposed by this Directive can reduce the number of people who smoke in the EU by 2.4 million. We must stop the tobacco industry from using attractive gimmicks to lure young people to their deadly product.”

Martina Anderson also commented on the net increase in jobs the Directive will create due to increased disposable income spent on other goods and services: “This would have a positive impact on the 20% most deprived areas in Europe where the rate of smoking related deaths is double that of the least deprived areas.”

GUE/NGL MEP Kartika Liotard described today's vote result as a “victory for public health over the intense lobbying efforts MEPs have been subjected to”.

She added: “700,000 deaths in the EU from smoking every year is a terribly high figure. But the tobacco industry prefers to put forward other figures, its profit figures. The aim of this Directive is to prevent young people from taking up smoking. The Directive is not a ban on smoking and it won't take away jobs. It simply focuses on public health. We shouldn't have any additives or substitute products that could encourage people to start smoking.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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