A majority of MEPs on the Parliament's International Trade Committee have today voted in favour of both less stringent rules on health warnings and tobacco packaging and for menthol to remain an additive in cigarettes. This vote result (15 in favour and 12 against) goes against the recommendations of public health groups and follows a massive tobacco industry lobbying campaign.
GUE/NGL MEPs Paul Murphy and Helmut Scholz put forward and voted for amendments that aimed to put in place stricter rules that would safeguard public health as well as reduce incentives to start smoking.
Condemning the tobacco industry's lobbying practices, Paul Murphy said: “Although the Commission's proposal alone will not be sufficient to convince people to stop smoking and further initiatives are needed, any step that helps should be welcomed and not obstructed by dealers in killer products who are only concerned with their profits. The tobacco industry invested millions of euros to lobby for less stringent rules on health warnings and more neutral packaging obligations for tobacco products. This is disgraceful.”
He continued: “Tobacco is the most significant cause of premature death in the EU. At least 700,000 people die in the EU as a result of tobacco consumption every year.”
Helmut Scholz said: “Today's vote represents a victory for the tobacco industry over public health. However, this opinion from the International Trade committee will now go to the Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee, where crucial votes will take place before the issue comes to the full plenary of the Parliament. It is vital for those who defend public health against the profits of the industry to mobilise and bring pressure to bear on the Parliament.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group