Tobacco Products Directive – EU Stakeholder workshop Report

27 June 2017 492 Views

On 15 May 2017, UEMO took part in the stakeholder workshop on implementation of Article 15 & 16 of the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU).  The meeting was conducted by Mrs Anna-Eva Ampelas, Head of Unit responsible for health in all policies, global health and tobacco control while the topics for discussion were introduced by Mr Filip Borkowski, team leader responsible for the tobacco traceability project.

Article 15 of the directive states that: “The lack of a harmonised approach to regulating the ingredients of tobacco products affects the smooth functioning of the internal market and has a negative impact on the free movement of goods across the Union[1]”. This tracking & tracing system is developed to better regulate the ingredients used in tobacco products, namely by removing “ingredients that increase palatability, create the impression that tobacco products have health benefits, are associated with energy and vitality or have colouring properties[2].”

These articles introduce an EU-wide approach to tobacco products regulation in order to combat the illegal trade of tobacco products while protecting EU citizens from potentially harmful or misleading ingredients. This took the form of an implementation study conducted by the European Commission for a Tracking & Tracing system which was started in June 2016 and is composed of 4 steps:

  • WP1: Completion of the technical knowledge base
  • WP2: high level design of the optimal system
  • WP3: Preparation and specification of technical requirements
  • WP4: Preparation of the final report.

The workshop on May 15th fell under WP3 and had two main objectives: To collect inputs and comments on key aspects of the legal act and to gather technical recommendations to build an optimized system for tracking & tracing tobacco products in the EU. The former was open to specialized organizations whereas the latter gathered the views of manufacturers, industry and research entities.
Through the workshop, the European Commission called for technical requirements on the following points: Unique Identifiers (UIs), Data recording & transmission, Data processing, storing & access, data carriers and security issues.

Proposed course of action: UEMO may express its support towards articles 15 & 16 of the Tobacco Directive introducing better regulation of tobacco products, especially flavoured-ones which are particularly misleading and often target young people. Despite concerns from the part of tobacco manufacturers/providers regarding implementation costs as well as potential abuses related to the misuse of the data collected by the system, UEMO may support the implementation of the tracking & tracing system, believing that in the long run, it could discourage people, especially among the youth, to start smoking and may therefore have a beneficial effect on their health.

Next step: Attend and/or monitor the preparation of the final report, dates to be announced in the following weeks.

 

[1] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ%3AJOL_2014_127_R_0001 – Article 15

[2] Idem

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