So what does it entail?
The draft rules include plans to ban ... packets containing fewer than 20 cigarettes. ...Hear that? None of that packets of 10 or 14 mullarkey any more, you've got to buy 20 at a time now. I think anyone who has purchased 200 on the way back from holiday will vouch for the fact that if they are there, they're gonna be smoked faster than usual unless in possession of stoic willpower.
I expect the idea is that youths will find it difficult to pay the extra for 20. No they won't, idiots, they will just shell out the extra £3 (pocket money according to anti-booze campaigners) and smoke them quicker. A win for big tobacco, then.
... and would keep the current EU sales ban on snus outside Sweden in place.Great idea. Instead of following the lead of a country with the lowest smoking prevalence in Europe - by a massive margin, I might add - let's just keep the major reason for it banned and carry on regardless, eh?
As a former ASH UK supremo points out ...
The EPP wants to ban #snus (at least 95% less risky than cigarettes) to protect "credibility of the EU institutions".docs.google.com/open?id=174Jcr…
— Clive Bates (@Clive_Bates) December 18, 2012
That's correct. Not to reduce harm, or to protect those who smoke by offering less risky alternatives. Nope, it's to protect eurocrats from confessing that they have fucked up.
That's the important thing, eh? We wouldn't want the EU to damage its credibility by admitting it made a mistake.Smoke if you've got 'em, lads and lasses, it's OK as long as EU blushes are saved.
The European Commission is to propose ... a total ban on flavourings such as mentholCrikey! That could actually help, couldn't it? I mean, it might just encourage those who are finding it hard to quit, but only like flavoured baccy, to move to something less damaging such as e-cigs. There are plenty more palatable flavours available with them and they are 99% less harmful. Good move!
Oh, hold on.
The EU legislation will also propose a "de facto" ban on electronic cigarettes, which deliver a smokeless nicotine hit, which in future must be authorised as "medicinal products".So that's out too. It's almost like the EU are promoting a policy which could be described as, I dunno, quit or die. But that would be pretty silly as it would only benefit either tobacco companies or ...
Aha! The penny has just dropped! There is another big industry which sells nicotine and which relies for its profits on smokers not slipping through the net with low risk alternatives which they don't control, isn't there?
Little wonder then, that an Imperial Tobacco spokesman is so chipper.
"We are confident looking many years into the future that the EU will be an area where we can sustainably grow and develop our business."Indeed. With the EU introducing measures which ensure the profits of big industry for years to come, how can they or big pharma possibly fail? Nice work, Brussels.
Of course, there are others who will be breathing a big sigh of relief now that their pharma sponsors have dodged a bullet [pdf page 10].
ASH and allies continue to work hard to ensure that the passage of the Directive through the European legislature proceeds as planned.Wahey! Trebles all round.
It has never been about health, you know.