Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, EU Parliament, Environment and Public Health Committee member joined with health NGO’s from Ireland and across the EU in Brussels yesterday, to question tobacco industry representatives on the Tobacco Products Directive proposal.
Martina Anderson said:
“The tobacco industry's apparent concern for illicit trade of cigarettes causing losses to national exchequers is disingenuous to say the least. I was not impressed with the argument from the Tobacco Industry that one of its major concerns is the effect of the illicit trade and smuggling on revenue raising by national governments. I took the opportunity to confront the tobacco industry representative on how he was presenting the potential damage caused to the industry by the illicit trade while overlooking the fact that, the world's four biggest tobacco companies, will pay out a phenomenal €1.65 billion as part of cooperation agreements reached between 2004 and 2010 as a condition for the litigation against them being dropped.
“Let's be realistic about this - the big tobacco companies are concerned primarily with one thing – profit – they are not concerned by the devastating effects of their product on public health. It is our duty as legislators to ensure that there are therefore sufficient checks and controls on an industry which is unique in producing a consumer product like no other. It is the only product where, when the product is used exactly as intended by the manufacturer, it will always have a harmful effect on health, killing half of all those who use it. It is a chilling but necessary reminder, one in two long-term tobacco product users will ultimately die from tobacco-related diseases. We have an obligation to ensure that every measure open to us is utilised in the battle against this killer product.”