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MEP Kelly to strengthen tobacco rules

Published: Thu, 03 October 2013

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Seeks support for graphic health warnings on cigarette packs

Sean Kelly MEP has secured the backing of fellow MEPs to extend health warnings on cigarette packs from covering half of the packaging to 65 per cent, via an amendment to the EU Tobacco Product Directive (TPD).

Mr Kelly successfully gathered the required 40 MEP signatures for the crucial amendment that will result in starker health warnings across EU tobacco products.

“The amendment proposes prominent and graphic health warnings to cover 65 per cent of tobacco packaging and will bolster other new rules aimed at reducing Europe’s smoking addiction.

“Smoking-related deaths across the EU stand at around 700,000 per year. Unless urgent action is taken, the WHO has warned that the annual global death toll from tobacco-related deaths could rise to more than eight million by 2030.

“We cannot ignore those figures. The health of our citizens is our core priority. So I am delighted that we can now proceed with this amendment which supports the position of our Health Minister, Dr James Reilly,” said Mr Kelly, a member of the European Parliament’s Industry Committee.

“This EU action follows Ireland’s pioneering record in this area following the introduction of the smoking ban in public places.”

Mr Kelly is hopeful that such measures will receive full parliamentary backing during votes in Strasbourg next week.

In concluding, the MEP Kelly highlighted the “excessive” lobbying by some representatives of the tobacco industry targeting MEPs ahead of next week’s vote.

“I am aware of an extensive lobbying campaign directed at MEPs on behalf of the tobacco industry, which wants to block some measures aimed at curbing smoking. Lobbying is a part of the political process, but it must be fair and transparent. Lobbyists may state their case, but not excessively.”

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