In Ireland health campaigning groups said they are disappointed with the latest EU parliament failure to adopt more severe anti-smoking measures. This means a victory for tobacco industry.
Members of the European Parliament declined a proposal to classify e-cigarettes as medicinal products. This re-classification could result in tighter regulation of e-cigarettes. The European Parliament voted for ban of flavoured cigarettes and against ban of slim cigarettes, but it wants a long lead-in period for this measure. Thus menthol cigarettes will not be banned until 2022.
Members of the European Parliament have also voted for increasing the size of health warnings on cigarettes packs. Thus the warning will be placed on the top of the package and cover more than two-thirds of a box. There was suggested that the warning should cover three-quarters of the pack. Besides this, MEPs have also voted for making a pack of 20 cigarettes the minimum size that can be sold in the EU.
The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) said there had been a decrease in the planned size of health warnings on cigarette packs. The IHF representatives consider that this along with failure to tighter regulate e-cigarettes and ban slim cigarettes represents a victory for the tobacco industry.
Kathleen O’Meara, Head of Advocacy and Communications with the Irish Cancer Society, said that long period for the implementation of the Directive’s proposals was in favor for the tobacco industry and their lobbyists.
In spite of efforts of Europe’s health community, the long phasing-in of the proposals contained in the Directive demonstrates great efforts by the tobacco industry to delay plans to reduce the number of smoking people. Now EU ministers will review the anti-smoking plans.