Of course, they'll all be pointless or else Ireland - which is always first to implement these imaginative wastes of time and money - would boast one of the lowest smoking rates in the EU, instead of the highest.
You can read them all here, but I found these proposals particularly amusing.
No misleading labelling
The labelling or packaging of any tobacco product must not suggest that a particular product is less harmful than others or has positive health or lifestyle effects.
No more tar and nicotine info on packs
The tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields of cigarettes must henceforth be measured on the basis of referenced ISO standards, as existing indications displayed on cigarette packets have proven to be misleading, MEPs say. They therefore propose that no such information should be included on packs.Now, ignore for now the bizarre situation of the EU demanding less information for consumers - the exact opposite of the costly regulatory burdens they place on every other marketable product in existence - but instead let's concentrate on the word "misleading".
The implication, naturally, is that those nasty tobacco companies have been lying again. But who exactly demanded this information to be placed on packs in the first place? Well, the EU of course.
The lack of information together with the lack of toxicological data prevents the relevant authorities in the Member States from assessing in any meaningful manner the toxicity of, and hazards posed to the health of the consumer by tobacco products. This is inconsistent with the obligation placed on the Community to ensure a high level of protection for human health.
The greatest possible transparency of product information should be ensured, while ensuring that appropriate account is taken of the commercial and intellectual property rights of the tobacco manufacturers.They were very specific about how these tar and nicotine yields were to be displayed too.
6. The text of warnings and yield indications required under this Article shall be:
(a) printed in black Helvetica bold type on a white background. In order to accommodate language requirements, Member States shall have the right to determine the point size of the font, provided that the font size specified in their legislation is such as to occupy the greatest possible proportion of the area set aside for the text required;
(b) in lower-case type, except for the first letter of the message and where required by grammar usage;
(c) centred in the area in which the text is required to be printed, parallel to the top edge of the packet;
(d) for products other than those referred to in paragraph 4, surrounded by a black border not less than 3 mm and not more than 4 mm in width which in no way interferes with the text of the warning or information given;
(e) in the official language or languages of the Member State where the product is placed on the market.
7. The printing of the texts required by this Article on the tax stamps of unit packets shall be prohibited. The texts shall be irremovably printed, indelible and shall in no way be hidden, obscured or interrupted by other written or pictorial matter or by the opening of the packet. In the case of tobacco products other than cigarettes, the texts may be affixed by means of stickers, provided that such stickers are irremovable.Because, you see, they were fully aware of the scientific principle of dose making the poison. Hence why, in the same document, they placed limits on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields.
Cigarettes: maximum tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields
1. From 1 January 2004, the yield of cigarettes released for free circulation, marketed or manufactured in the Member States shall not be greater than:
- 10 mg per cigarette for tar,So what changed? Why are the EU's own regulations now termed "misleading"?
- 1 mg per cigarette for nicotine,
- 10 mg per cigarette for carbon monoxide.
Well, since 2001 the tobacco control industry has changed its mind. Apparently, tobacco is now such a unique material that it manages to circumvent the globally accepted rules of chemistry and biology (and economics in some instances).
ASH, for example, have pronounced that - all of a sudden - high and low tar cigarettes are all the same.
Smoking Kills also supported European efforts to set limits on the tar and nicotine delivered by tobacco products but unfortunately it became clear that such limits could mislead smokers about the harmfulness of the products they smoke. Descriptors such as ‘low tar’ can no longer be used and the government is advocating the removal of emission yields from packs.And dutifully did the EU follow this distortion of scientific reality.
They didn't scrap the limits on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields though. Why not? Surely if they are irrelevant, there is now no need for them, doncha think?
The answer, of course, is that the EU secretly know that these yield figures really are significant, as the Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health (SCOTH) has reported on before.
Health effects of smoking lower tar cigarettes
Only prolonged smoking of low tar cigarettes can determine the extent to which health risks are reduced. UK figures show that male lung cancer diagnoses have been falling since the early 1980’s which reflects the trend in smoking which has decreased for the last twenty years. This may in part also be due to the lower tar cigarette.Every producer reacts to customer preferences, with brands in all areas introducing lines which are lower in fat, sugar, salt, alcohol content, or whatever else they have been hectored into being scared of. Tobacco is no different. Seeing that smokers were concerned about levels of tar and nicotine, tobacco manufacturers developed a range of products with differing strengths to cater for each individual's choice and risk tolerance.
Another possible explanation for the observed reduction in male lung cancer deaths may be the altered ratio between tar and nicotine in the lower tar cigarettes: the ratio between tar and nicotine has reduced as tar levels have come down and this means reduced exposure to tar and other harmful constituents of smoke measured on a per unit nicotine basis.
Tobacco control tax spongers don't like that much, though, so once the new directive is installed, smokers will not be allowed to know how much tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide is in their cigarettes even though they vary considerably.
May as well just smoke the brand which gives you the biggest kick then, eh?
And this is supposed to be about health how?