A few days before Christmas, the tobacco industry chalked up a small but significant victory. When the European Commission published a new anti-smoking plan on December 19, he walked away from the recommendations that cigarettes should be sold in plain packages. Mandatory pictorial warnings diseases will be introduced, but 30% of the surface area of a box of cigarettes will be reserved for branding.
Why Brussels officials have decided to allow cigarette-store.biz/online/marlboro lured young men with their distinctive color schemes? Why should the EU follow the example of Australia, where the tobacco is wrapped in shades of green so ugly it reminds me of the shape wear to school, the nuns?
Based on the information I could gather, it seems that the Commission capitulated Cigarette Company.
Over the past few years, tobacco lobbyists are playing a game of “divide and rule.” After they found out that the EU health officials were interesting ideas simple package lobbyists appealed to the Department of Trade Commission. Reading between the lines of the correspondence I have received, it is clear that lobbyists are perceived by civil servants handling commercial matters, as more allies than their task to prevent cancer and heart disease.
In October 2011, “public relations” consulting Bell Pottinger – working on behalf of Tobacco Imperial – contacted various officials of trade, expressing his concern over the planned strengthening EU anti-smoking legislation. Such a measure would be contrary to a “fundamental spirit” of EU law on the protection of trademarks and designs, according to Tobias Ghersetti of Brussels Office at Bell Pottinger.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – the corporate-funded group, which once boasted of Donald Rumsfeld as chairman of the Political Council – made a strange statement by Karel De Gucht, EU Trade Commissioner, at the end of 2010. Alec Carla Jones sent de Gucht policy document, which stated that “the institution of plain packaging regulations are seizures by the government, that, in many cases, the most valuable asset of the corporation – its brand.” Having made that a sober observation, Alec turned down all offers that put a cigarette wrapper in unattractive dominated disease can be beneficial to health. It referred to “reports of smokers in some EU countries,” the collection and exchange of graphic warnings, which were introduced at the national level, as if they were a terrible gum cards.
Not surprisingly, Alec does not cite any evidence to support its conclusions that sound public health laws encourage perverse fetishes. Contrary to what ALEC mean, there are data showing that sound legislation leads to a reduction in smoking. As a follow-up to the ratification of the Framework Convention of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Control in 2004, Uruguay banned indoor smoking in all public places, raising taxes on tobacco products and provides that 80% of both sides of a pack of cigarettes should be covered with beautiful images and Harmful. In 2003, 39% of men and 28% of Uruguay’s their women smoke. By 2009, the price fell to 31% of men and 20% women.
It is especially significant that in 2010, Uruguay became the first country outside the law “differentiated branding” in which lighter shade can be used to distinguish between “mild” cigarettes from those with higher pitches. 2012 study by the International Tobacco Control Project Evaluation found that the percentage of Uruguayans who believed the myth that some cigarettes are less harmful than others, decreased from 29% to 15%.
Can European Commission decision that tobacco companies maintain their brand identity is the result of cowardice? Almost certainly, the answer is “yes.” Industry officials bombarded documents from lawyers recently, giving less than subtle hints that it would be easy to take any initiative to pack the court.
Both the EU health and trade officials have spent many closed-door talks with representatives of the tobacco. This is tantamount to a rejection of the World Health Organization guidelines, which emphasize that any contact between the regulatory authorities and the tobacco industry should be minimized and should be held in public as much as possible.
Commission trade department has been widely useful for tobacco lobbyists. Instead of rowing for the efforts of Australia, De Gucht and his team have made inquiries in 2011 about whether or not plain packaging would constitute a “technical barrier to trade.” This position was at odds with that of Brazil, Cuba and India, each of which defended the right of Australia to restrict corporate activities on public health grounds, the case was brought against the anti-smoking law in the World Trade Organization.
A year earlier, the EU acted as a courier for Big Tobacco. When Canada introduced new rules on tobacco marketing aimed at young people, the Union demanded that she submit a formal notification to the WTO.
We should not forget that De Gucht tacitly encouraging tobacco companies to sue the government when their profits are threatened. Trade agreements he hopes to clinch Canada soon looks set to provisions that allow corporations competition in health, environment and labor regulations are perceived as an obstacle to business. Philip Morris used the comparable provisions in other trade agreements to litigate against Uruguay and Australia.
We must not delude ourselves into thinking that the EU is in a state of war with the tobacco industry. Unfortunately, it is not.