PARIS, September 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Despite the placatory speeches of recent months, in the light of certain leaks that have appeared in the German (Die Welt, Bild Zeitung) and specialised (Tobacco Journal International, etc.) press, it seems likely that the Directorate General for Health and Consumers has planned 'out and out war' on the tobacco industry when revising the Tobacco Products Directive.
Today the charade is over: we are no longer only talking about the size of health warnings or the desire not to damage tobacco growers' interests, from now on it will also be a matter of, during a second phase and through bills delegated to Member States, attacking all ingredients, of which tobacco is one, that heighten appeal, and to promote plain packaging and total packet standardisation.
This standardisation is fervently rejected by UNITAB and the 85,000 European tobacco growers and the 400,000 jobs that it represents, as it would sign their death sentence. Favouring contraband and counterfeit products from third countries using cheap tobacco of dubious quality that does not respect the health and environmental norms in force within the EU, these measures would prove to be ineffective or even harmful for Public Health. Furthermore, they constitute unacceptable discrimination against European production.
Finally, François Vedel, UNITAB delegate secretary warns: "packet standardisation will bring about a price war between manufacturers who are prevented from distinguishing themselves from their competitors by any means, and this war will be waged to the detriment of the raw-material suppliers, the tobacco growers, who, following the disappearance of public assistance, are already facing uncertain profitability from their activities. Is this how the European Union wants to preserve employment within the context of an unprecedented economic and social crisis and loss of confidence in European institutions?"
Lastly, UNITAB recalls that it has always supported proportional and effective public health measures such as the ban on products containing fruit flavours (grape, cherry, peach, and even banana split, etc.), that have already been implemented in France or the United States.
UNITAB is the International Union of tobacco growers. It represents nearly 85,000 tobacco growers across Europe.