The first and only public hearing for the EU's Tobacco Products Directive is being held in Brussels on February 25th. Incredibly, there appears to be nobody representing the interests of the millions of European e-cigarette users who will have their product effectively banned by this legislation. Indeed, the whole line-up is filled with the EU's yes men (and women). Only one speaker is not a card-carrying anti-tobacco extremist and she's from the tobacco industry.
Public Hearing on "Tobacco Products" organised by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)
Monday, 25 February 2013 from 15:00 to 18:30
European Parliament, Room JAN 4Q2, Brussels
15.00 - 15.05 Welcome and opening by the Chair Matthias Groote
15.05 - 15.15 Mr James Reilly, Irish Minister for Health
15.15 - 15.25 Mr Tonio Borg, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy
15.25 - 16.00 Questions by MEPs
Position of the Main Stakeholders
16.00 - 16.10 Ms Florence Berteletti Kemp Director, Smoke Free Partnership: The economic and heath burden of tobacco in the EU: The need to protect children and young people
16.10 - 16.20 Antonella Pederiva Secretary General, Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM)
Proposal for a revision of the Tobacco Product Directive: assessment and impacts
16.20 - 16.50 Questions by MEPs
Specific Aspects of the Proposal: ingredients, labelling and marketing
16.50 - 17.00 Dr Martina Pötschke-Langer Head of the Unit Cancer Prevention in the German Cancer Research Center: Tobacco additives – the increased health risk
17.00 - 17.10 Luk Joossens Advocacy Officer, Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL): Traceability, plain packaging and illicit tobacco trade
17.10 - 17.20 Dr David Hammond Associate Professor in the School of Public Health & Health Systems at the University of Waterloo - Canada: Health warnings and plain packaging
17.20 - 17.30 Dr Jean King Director of Tobacco Control: Interference by the tobacco industry in tobacco control policy and the need for transparency in official interactions with industry and in lobbying
17.30 - 18.15 Debate with MEPs
18.15 - 18.25 Concluding remarks by the Rapporteur
18.25 - 18.30 Closing statement by the Chairman
Two of the putative experts are best known for advocating plain packaging despite plain packaging not being part of the directive. It looks very much as if this hearing will be dominated by professional prohibitionists complaining that the directive does not go far enough.
Don't let them get away with it. The de jure ban on snus and the de facto ban on e-cigarettes are outrageous infringements of liberty that will be a disaster for the health of millions of Europeans. Most of the other provisions, such as the ban on menthol cigarettes, are petty, pointless and lacking in any scientific justification.
This session will be available to watch on the European Parliament TV website. If you are concerned about the EU's casual disregard for harm reduction, science and liberty, I urge you to read Clive Bates' post on the issue here and then write to your MEP. MEPs can ask questions at this event. Time is running out.
The Ashtray blog is updating its list of MEPs who support or oppose harm reduction here.