Ahead of the vote on the Tobacco Products Directive in Strasbourg tomorrow, Martina Anderson, speaking from the European Parliament, called on her fellow MEPs to support the agreement on tobacco control.
Ms Anderson said:
“The agreement on the tobacco products directive is a victory for public health and undoubtedly a major step forward in the area of tobacco control with strong and robust measures which aim to stop children from taking up a habit which kills one in two of its users.
“Many long and difficult hours went into reaching an agreement between all three of the EU institutions on this intricate and demanding legislative file. I am therefore dismayed to hear that groups of Irish and British MEPs are attempting to water down the proposal with amendments which seek to decrease the minimum Roll Your Own pack size from 30g, as was agreed upon in negotiations, to 20g.
“Not only is this an issue of public health, with smaller tobacco products much more affordable and therefore accessible to young people but these tactics threaten to derail the whole agreement.
“No doubt those who have submitted these amendments are aware if it were the case that an amendment to the agreement be passed tomorrow, all three institutions will have to go into another round of negotiations, pushing this directive well into the next legislature. Block and delay is a tactic long used by the tobacco industry lobbyists to avoid measures which improve public health and dissuade citizens from smoking - I urge all of my fellow MEPs not to play into their hands.”