At some point in 2015-16, millions of Europeans are going to pop into their local shop and find that their usual brand of cigarettes, or pouch of rolling tobacco, is no longer available. Those who smoke menthol and slims will be told that the EU decided to ban them back in 2013. The packs will be covered in giant warnings covering three-quarters of their surface. The exact size and dimensions of the packaging and the cigarettes will have been dictated in Brussels.
While the obesity warriors strive to make crisp packets and chocolate bars smaller, the Tobacco Products Directive aims to make packs of tobacco larger. While scientists recognise that Swedish snus is the world's least hazardous tobacco product, the EU will maintain its ban on it.
None of this can be justified either on health grounds or on grounds of market harmonisation. As Angela Harbutt notes in this article, no EU country has even considered banning menthol. Nor has any EU government mandated 75 per cent graphic warnings, or demanded that cigarettes be exactly 7.5mm in diameter, or implemented any of the other three-in-the-morning ideas that the berks of Brussels have come up with.Indeed. the proposed Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a first class example of pointless EU interference where none is sought or needed, and more control of the UK being assumed by Brussels.
Consider too that the ban on snus is being pushed through despite an overwhelming majority of responses throughout Europe being heavily opposed to it, and the UK government's input - and, by extension, the British people's - being bypassed altogether by the actions of Anna Soubry, as well documented here recently.
Some might say that is enough to describe the TPD as a corrupt document in itself, but it having been drawn up by a Maltese Commissioner under investigation for fraud and with allegations of misdeeds and nepotism following him around almost daily, should have ensured the whole thing was scrapped and looked at again. That it wasn't is shameful of the EU and further proof that Brussels welcomes democracy and transparency like the Pope welcomes an endorsement request from Durex.
So, if you haven't done so already, do have a good look round the new No Thank EU site and add your name to the petition, remembering to tick the box which generates a message to your MEP (which you can personalise, as I'd recommend). Do also share widely with friends via Facebook and Twitter as I'm sure most of them have no knowledge of any of this deeply flawed directive, and are blissfully unaware of the proposals to consign long-enjoyed menthol tobacco and "half an ounce of Old Holborn" to prohibition and the inevitable black market.