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Fresh welcomes Europe's Tobacco Products Directive

Fresh has welcomed a majority vote today in the EU passing new laws to make smoking history for more children in the North East and across Europe.


The European Parliament passed the revised and strengthened EU Tobacco Products Directive which means that all European Union countries will have to put in place a series of tougher measures to curb smoking and tobacco use.

Key elements of the new Directive include:


Around 21% of adults – 460,000 people - in the North East smoke, costing the NHS around £114m a year, resulting in around 460,000 GP appointments and costing North East businesses around £32m. Around 9,000 North East children start to smoke each year.


Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "The Directive is a massive opportunity to reduce the harm caused by tobacco and remove some of the temptations employed by cigarette companies to keep smokers smoking and hook new customers. Most smokers get addicted as children, and one in two long term smokers will die early as a result.


"It is vital now that the UK Government introduces standardised packaging, reducing the appeal of glossy packs to children and ending the myth some cigarettes are healthier than others."


She added: "Some of the debate in the Directive focused on electronic cigarettes. We recognize the role these could play in reducing the harm to smokers who are trying to quit or cut down.


"However, nicotine is still a highly addictive substance. The sort of glamorous advertising we are now seeing, including advertising with celebs and football clubs, risks making smoking more attractive to children. There are also concerns about quality control of cheap imports and whether they are effective.


"Sensible regulation of electronic cigarettes will help ensure long term safeguards on quality and safety, minimize the risks of them becoming a gateway product to get children hooked on smoking, and help us monitor any long term health issues. These are sensible precautions while making sure people using them are not restricted."


Following formal adoption by the European Council, Governments in the EU Member States will have two years to include the Directive’s provisions in national law, with an extension to six years for prohibiting menthol flavouring.