Council: More Tax on Flavoured Cigarettes

12765797_10205543143198531_431556094_oSix amendments were passed by the Council this morning. The jEUrnal caught some of the ministers for their reactions on the vote.

Increased taxation on flavoured cigarettes, a special hotline for smokers and more focus on the potential health risks of e-cigarettes. These are just some of the amendments that were passed during this morning’s vote on the Tobacco Products Directive in the Council.

According to the minister of Luxembourg, Trayan Dimitrov, the proceedings took place in a mood of cooperation between the ministers:

“We managed to vote for the most important amendments that were really in the essence of what we wanted to do with the directive”, he told The jEUrnal following the vote.

Flavoured cigarettes to be banned in 2026.

It was Denmark who proposed the increased taxation rates on flavoured cigarettes to avoid in particular young people from starting to smoke due to tempting flavours. This will lead up to a complete ban of flavoured cigarettes in all the member states in 2026. The Council passed the amendment with a broad majority.

The minister of Denmark, Annkatrin Mies, was pleased with the outcome of the vote: “Our amendment is a diplomatic and flexible solution that will give countries with a strong tradition for flavoured cigarettes time to adjust and give their citizens the time to change their consumption habits leading up to a complete ban”, she said.

Psychological hotline for smokers.

An amendment concerning a EU-wide free hotline number, which is to provide psychological support for smokers, who want to quit, also passed with the support of almost all the big countries. The number is to be printed on each of the cigarette packets.

The minister of Austria, Tommaso Marangoni, who initially proposed the amendment, is very proud that it succeeded: “The printing of the smoker hotline in Austria has lead to a direct increase of the number of callers. Making it compulsory for all EU countries will be a positive step”, he said.

No increase in the size of package warnings. 

While several countries had suggested a further increase of the size of the warning labels and information message on the cigarette packets, none of these amendments ended up passing.

The Netherlands had hoped for a total coverage of 65 percent – that is 15 percent more than stated in the original draft. Minister of the Netherlands, Michael Stockhammer, said he had mixed feelings towards the result.  “It would have been a good idea on behalf of all the citizens. But we have passed some other very important and strong amendments, which protect our citizens likewise, so I am not sad that mine didn’t pass”, he told The jEUrnal.

Germany also proposed to increase the coverage of the warnings up till 60 percent, which didn’t pass – along with three other amendments proposed by German minister Iva Rozelin Petrova. She told The jEUrnal, that she had hoped for more.  “Unfortunately we couldn’t come to agreement about the percentage of the image on the tobacco, and my offer for flexibility was not accepted”, she said.

In total, eight amendments didn’t make it into the final draft.

by Rikke Mathiassen

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