Mid December 2013 the Brussels civil servants introduced the reform of the EU Tobacco Guidelines. The results of a long talk between different parties is now on a journey along the EU member states and will come back to Brussels  in spring 2014 for the definitive “green light”. 

As a pipe smoker you can call the information service of the EU Commission to ask for the report with figures, symbols and formal language but we think a better solution is a nice overview (Q&A’s) with the most important issues.

Five Questions and Answers to the compromise text of the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Council as currently under consideration for approval by the Member States and the European Parliament.

Q – When will the revised European Tobacco Products Directive (EU TPD) take effect?
A – If the compromise text of the EU TPD currently under consideration is adopted in 2014, the Member States will have 24 months to lay it down in national law. At present we expect the final voting round to take place in April of this year. April 2016 will then be the deadline for the act to be implemented. Transitional periods apply to some sections of the act. The ban on menthol tobacco, for example, will only take effect in 2020.

Q – What is the objective of the Tobacco Products Directive?
A – The directive focuses in particular on discouraging (new) young smokers. The ultimate objective is to reduce the number of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.

Q – Which tobacco products fall under the Tobacco Products Directive?
A – Practically all tobacco products fall under the TPD. However, the directive mainly focuses on cigarettes and rolling tobacco. The idea is that these product categories mainly appeal to young people.

Q - What parts of the directive will also apply to pipe tobacco?
A – For the moment the ban on so-called characteristic flavours does not apply to pipe tobacco. However, several testing and measurement methods for tobacco ingredients will apply also to pipe tobacco, just as so-called tracking and tracing, and security features. As far as tracking and tracing is involved, an extra 5-year transitional period applies for tobacco as opposed to rolling tobacco and cigarettes (and 10 years for pipe tobacco). This forces manufacturers to track and trace the products across the entire chain up to the first purchaser (retailer).

Q – What changes will be made to pipe tobacco when the TPD takes effect in 2016?
A – It is up to the Member States themselves to decide whether the packaging requirements for rolling tobacco and cigarettes will be applied to pipe tobacco. This would entail that approx. 65% of the packaging will show pictorial and text warnings. As an EU Member State, the Netherlands may also decide to leave the packaging for pipe tobacco as it is.

Q – Can the TPD take effect to cover all tobacco products?
A – Using delegated powers, the European Commission has allowed room to also introduce the strict requirements to cigarettes and rolling tobacco for other tobacco products. This is only allowed if these products are increasingly used by young smokers. If pipe tobacco were to become a craze among youngsters, the EU Commission can take ready action to tighten the regulations for these products.

© CIPC - CNC / Mrt. 2014.