¿Por qué nosotros no? Acción Ciudadana por la Salud y el cambio de la Ley Española de Tabaco

France to introduce plain cigarette

26/11/2015 BBC News

The French government has unveiled controversial new measures to cut the number of its smokers, including introducing plain cigarette packaging.

The proposals are specifically aimed at reducing the high rates of teenage smokers in France.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine plans to follow Australia's example, which introduced similar measures in 2012.

Experts say removing branding on packets and adding large health warnings reduced smoking in Australia.

However, some tobacco companies dispute the evidence for this and say France's plans are incomprehensible.

Smoking is the main cause of death in France, with more than 70,000 people dying each year of tobacco-related illnesses.

The new measures, which will come into effect once the law goes through the National Assembly, also includes a ban on smoking in children's play areas in public parks and in cars carrying children under 12.

In addition, advertising of e-cigarettes will be restricted before being banned in May 2016, except at the point of sale and in trade ...

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... publications.

Ms Touraine says there are 13 million smokers in France - which has a population of around 66 million - and the "number of smokers is growing, especially among young people."

"We can't accept that tobacco kills 73,000 people every year in our country - the equivalent of a plane crash every day with 200 people on board," she added.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says the move goes well beyond what France is required to do under European anti-smoking rules.

'Completely incomprehensible'

EU laws already force tobacco firms to cover 65% of the packaging with health warnings, but Ms Touraine said they would be "the same shape, same size, same colour, same typeset" if the ban came into effect.

Celine Audibert, a spokeswoman for French firm Seita, which is a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco, described the move as "completely incomprehensible".

"It's based on the Australian experience which, more than a failure, was a complete fiasco," added Ms Audibert.

In 2012, Australia forced all cigarettes to be sold in identical brown packets, largely covered with graphic health warnings.

Tobacco clearances, an indicator of tobacco volumes in the Australian market, fell 3.4% in 2013 compared with 2012.

But Australia also raised cigarette taxes that led to consumer prices increasing, creating doubt over which move made the most difference.

Revealed: how ‘big tobacco’ used EU rules to win health delay

21/11/2015 Jamie Doward - The Guardian

The world’s largest tobacco companies were instrumental in promoting Europe-wide, pro-business regulations that they used to delay health initiatives.

Analysis carried out by the University of Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) has found that the companies played a key role in pushing the European commission’s Better Regulation agenda, which places business interests at the heart of policy drafting. They then used the new laws to block and delay a series of major health reforms, including UK introduction of plain packaging.

Under the terms of the Better Regulation agenda, which internal tobacco industry documents reveal was enthusiastically supported by British American Tobacco, European governments, including the UK, must conduct public consultations and impact assessments when introducing laws that affect business. The tobacco companies took advantage of these laws, using third parties and fake grassroots campaigns to swamp the consultations on anti-smoking initiatives such as the introduction of plain packaging. In addition, they were ...

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... highly selective in what they submitted. All failed to include evidence – disclosed as a result of historic legal action – that they knew branded packaging was crucial to the marketing of their products, something they consistently denied in public.

For example, a document drawn up by Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris in 1970 explained how pack recognition research was conducted by using hidden cameras on unsuspecting consumers in stores. It states: “As a prospective customer entered the area, he broke the photoelectric beam, immediately setting in motion the concealed camera which recorded the movement of his eyes and the final selection he made. From the thousands of films, the designers and advertising men were able to determine which package, which design and what combination of colours had the most appeal.”

Leaked documents show that Philip Morris identified the Better Regulation laws as a key weapon in its battle to derail the 2014 EU tobacco products directive which introduced large-scale health warnings on cigarette packets and a ban on flavoured cigarettes and packs of 10 –both popular marketing initiatives with young smokers. The tobacco giant employed more than 160 lobbyists and spent ¤1.25bn opposing the directive’s introduction. The European commission department responsible for drawing up the directive was swamped with 85,000 submissions.Many of the claims that they made were based on dubious evidence. According to the TCRG analysis of the submissions, “the research was of significantly lower quality than research supporting the measure. For example, the tobacco companies’ arguments were not supported by any peer-reviewed journal articles about standardised packaging.” Nevertheless, the tobacco giants’ tactics resulted in a three-year delay in the introduction of plain packaging in the UK.Anna Gilmore, Professor of Public Health and Director of the TCRG, said their analysis highlighted the need for full transparency when it came to public consultations.

“The tobacco companies played a key role in implementing Better Regulation, anticipating that it would help them delay, block or weaken public health legislation,” Gilmore said.

“They have now gone on to exploit it to prevent life-saving regulations. They are flooding consultations with massive numbers of responses to give a totally misleading impression of opposition to public health policies. They then cite wholly misleading evidence that they have effectively manufactured to support their case.” ”

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