Commissioner Borg today revealed the details of the revised EC Tobacco Products Directive. Essentially the revision comprises the following elements:
Ingredients: A harmonised electronic reporting format for ingredients and emissions will be introduced. The proposal foresees a prohibition for cigarettes, roll your own (RYO) tobacco and smokeless tobacco products with characterising flavours and a prohibition of products with additives which increase its toxicity and addictiveness.
Labelling and packaging: All cigarette and RYO packages must carry a combined picture and text health warning covering 75% of the front and the back of the package, including information on cessation services. Promotional elements are prohibited. Certain aspects of the pack and cigarette appearance are standardised, e.g. the size of a cigarettes packet to ensure the full visibility of pictorial warnings. The current information on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide is replaced by an information message on the side of the pack. Member States remain free to introduce plain packaging in duly justified cases.
Smokeless tobacco: The ban on oral tobacco products (snus) is maintained except for Sweden which has an exemption pursuant to its Accession Treaty. All smokeless tobacco products must carry health warnings on both sides. Novel tobacco products must comply with the Directive and require prior notification before being placed on the market.
Extension of the product scope of the Directive: Nicotine Containing Products (e.g. electronic cigarettes) below a certain nicotine threshold are allowed on the market, but must feature health warnings; products above this threshold are only allowed if authorised as medicinal products like nicotine replacement therapies (e.g. nicotine patches). Herbal products for smoking (e.g. herbal cigarettes) will have to carry health warnings.
Cross-border distance sales: Retailers engaging in cross-border distance sales must notify their activities to the competent authorities and must introduce age verification mechanisms.
Illicit trade: A tracking and tracing system and security features (e.g. holograms) are foreseen.
Please refer to the following resources for full details.
Commissioner Borg's speech 19.12.12: Tobacco Products Directive - Making tobacco products and smoking less attractive