EU Commission revision of smoke-free recommendation coming soon…probably

Previous delays and Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health and food safety, describing the work as “particularly challenging”, could indicate that the European Commission’s proposal for revising its smoke-free environment recommendation is at risk of further postponement.

The Euopean Commission (EC) announced that the revised recommendation would be presented on 17th September, according to the EC’s tentative agenda, published earlier this week. The revised recommendation is set to include public usage restrictions for novel tobacco and nicotine products, although it will lack legal force, as it’s only a recommendation. During a Health Council meeting in June, when asked about the previous delays, Kyriakides said that the work was ongoing and that it had been “a particularly challenging task”.

Its inclusion in the September agenda indicates that the Commission finally seems to be making progress on the topic. The proposal’s presentation will hinge on the EC’s ability to navigate the complexities and address industry concerns. However, given the history of delays, the proposal could very well be postponed again.

Nevertheless, the EC’s commitment to smoke-free environments at least shows that the Commission acknowledges these concerns and that it may be determined to finalise the proposal.

Indeed, this is not the first time that the EC has pledged to present the recommendation: it was previously listed in the Commission’s tentative agenda for 31st January this year, but in the end, it was not presented.

 

Three main recommendations, and the status of the TPD revision

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    The Council recommendation on smoke-free environments was adopted as the result of consultation and legislative process on 30th November 2009.

    It called on EU countries to act in three main areas: the adoption of laws to fully protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport, within three years of the adoption of the recommendation; enhancing smoke-free laws with supporting measures such as protecting children, encouraging efforts to give up tobacco use and pictorial warnings on tobacco packages; and strengthening cooperation at the EU level by setting up a network of national focal points for tobacco control.

    In a recent interview with ECigIntelligence, Peter Beckett, co-founder of Clearing the Air, said the EC is likely to release an impact assessment on the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) by the middle of next year.

    The assessment will consider various policy proposals that will then be put to public consultation. From there, a revised TPD will be drafted by DG-Santé, the Directorate-General of the European Commission responsible for EU policy on food safety and health and for monitoring the implementation of related laws. Once approved by the College of Commissioners, the revised directive will be published and sent to the Council and Parliament for amendment and approval.

    – Antonia Di Lorenzo ECigIntelligence staff

    Image: Skylarvision, Wikimedia Commons

    Antonia Di Lorenzo

    Assistant news editor/senior reporter
    Antonia is a member of the editorial team and holds a masters degree in Law from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. She moved in 2013 to London, where she completed a postgraduate course at the London School of Journalism. In the UK, she worked as a news reporter for a financial newswire and a magazine before moving to Barcelona in 2019.