Strengthening tobacco control: Opinion on the evaluation of the EU legal framework for tobacco control

16.05.2023 Pro Smokefree welcomes the fact that the EU Commission wants to revise the European legal framework for tobacco control as part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP). We support the goal of a smoke-free Europe in which only 5% of the population smokes by 2040.

To this end, European legislation should provide Member States with a binding and much more ambitious framework for better tobacco control than has been the case to date. Otherwise, in Member States such as Germany, where the tobacco lobby continues to have considerable influence, the necessary changes will hardly materialise.

In addition to responding to the very detailed questionnaire for stakeholders as part of the EU consultation, our association is submitting a freely formulated statement to the EU Commission. It contains the following demands in abridged form; please click on the link for the full text.

1 Binding comprehensive protection of non-smokers

Comprehensive non-smoker protection without exceptions must be guaranteed with regard to all tobacco products and new products, such as tobacco heaters and e-cigarettes, at least in the following areas:

  • Workplaces,
  • Educational and childcare facilities,
  • Public authorities,
  • Healthcare facilities,
  • Catering establishments, without exceptions for smoking restaurants and smoking rooms and including
  • Outdoor catering,
  • Cultural and leisure facilities,
  • Sports facilities,
  • Public transport and bus stops,
  • Other publicly accessible spaces,
  • Apartment blocks including balconies,
  • Entrance areas of protected facilities,
  • Households with underage children,
  • Vehicles if children or pregnant women are travelling,
  • Public open-air events.

2. Higher tobacco taxes and taxation of novel products

The minimum taxation requirements should be significantly increased to harmonise price levels in the Member States. In addition, appropriate minimum taxation should also be provided for novel products.

3. Comprehensive ban on advertising and sponsorship for tobacco products and novel products

The ban should be comprehensive and also cover all novel products. The following areas in particular should be covered

  • Sponsoring and party donations,
  • Internet and social media,
  • Advertising in and at points of sale,
  • Corporate social responsibility activities (“greenwashing”),
  • Corporate promotion and public relations activities,
  • Free distribution and playout,
  • Cinema advertising,
  • Advertising for other products using tobacco industry brands and for products that imitate tobacco products and novel products.

Accordingly, the concept of “advertising” should be broadened to include any depiction of smoking and the use of novel products that promotes consumption.

4. Neutral standardised packaging (“plain packaging”)

5. Restriction of sales to licensed specialist shops with access for adults only

6. Complete ban on flavourings

for all tobacco products and novel products, especially in e-cigarettes.

7. Ban on disposable e-cigarettes

8. Reduction of maximum emission levels and realistic measurement methods

9. Increase funding for education campaigns, treatment programmes, health and consumer protection

Member States should be obliged to provide financial resources for this purpose, based on a high percentage of their revenue from tobacco tax and the taxation of novel products.

10. Traceability for all tobacco products and novel products

11. Prohibition of cross-border distance selling of tobacco products and novel products

12. Commitment to national tobacco control strategies

Read more: Pro Rauchfrei – Statement on the legislative framework for tobacco control