Last week, the EU Commission launched a call for evidence to assess its legislative framework for tobacco control.  Its purpose is to evaluate if current tobacco control legislation has fulfilled its goals and whether or not it will further aspirations in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan to achieve a tobacco free generation by 2040.

Various EU voices have been speaking of a “rapid rise” in emerging products such as nicotine pouches, heated tobacco, and nicotine free e-liquid which are not covered under the last Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 2014. They are also raising concerns about online sales and there is a sense amongst some that there is unfinished business from the last TPD. Many have expressed their wish for vaping to be treated in the same way as smoking. There is also much talk of bans on flavours, plus other restrictions on where products can be sold and used.

UK consumers may feel that this does not concern us now that we have left the EU but what emerges from this consultation will guide a review of the TPD which will be very influential globally and could have an impact here too. If you are a consumer reading this from an EU member state it will be a clear and present danger.

We hope many of you will take the opportunity to have your say by accessing the initiative here where you will also find a PDF file with extra information, available in 23 languages. Here is how to respond.

  1. Create an account and choose a password
  2. Click “give feedback” 
  3. Choose your preferred language 
  4. Type your comments in the box provided (up to 4000 words) and there is also an option to attach a file, should you wish.
  5. Then, once you are done, click to submit. Your comments will be instantly published. 

The call for evidence runs until 17 June, after which a 12-week consultation process will take place.

It is important that the consumer view is respected in an exercise such as this, so please do tell the EU your story and emphasise why the TPD review should embrace harm reduction, rather than imposing restrictions which will make reduced risk products less accessible and less appealing for smokers who may be considering trying them.