EU Tobacco Products Directive enters into Force Today

30 June, 2016

The European Respiratory Society calls on Member States to swiftly implement the EU Tobacco Products Directive

20 May, speaking today from Madrid, the Chair of the European Respiratory Society Standing Committee on Tobacco Control, Prof. Carlos Jimenez-Ruiz said:

The Tobacco Products Directive is a very important legal instrument to fight the scourge of tobacco in the EU. If implemented in a timely and correct fashion by the Member States, it could prevent disability and death caused by tobacco and help to prevent children and young people from smoking. I call on countries not only to implement the Directive with speed, but to also go beyond its minimum provisions like Ireland, the UK and France have decided to do and implement plain packs.

Speaking from Athens, Prof. Christina Gratziou, ERS Advocacy Chair declared:

Today, the European Union made a substantial step forward in the fight against tobacco-related deaths and disabilities. As a medical doctor working on the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by tobacco use, I believe that the EU Tobacco Products Directive will be an essential tool to support the continuous work of health professionals in tackling the tobacco epidemic in Europe.

Notes to editors:

The Tobacco Products Directive was adopted in 2014. It will enter into force today 20 May 2016. As of then, Member States will be required to implement large graphic warnings covering 65% of the front and the back of packs of cigarettes and roll-your own products; to implement minimum sizes of health warnings and to ban certain types of packs such as slim packs; to ban characterizing flavours in these products (a temporary derogation for menthol is foreseen until 2020).

Member States can apply more stringent measures in accordance with Article 24 TPD, such as standardised packaging. So far, three Member States (Ireland, the UK and France) have adopted standardised packaging, to be implemented as of today. Other countries in the EU such as Hungary and Slovenia are also considering this measure.

To celebrate this, ERS and the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) are hosting an event on World No Tobacco Day (31 May, 2016) at the European Parliament. The event aims to support the World Health Organization's (WHO) call to action on plain packaging and highlight the evidence behind plain packaging. Hosted by MEP Gilles Pargneaux, the event will also congratulate Member States which have implemented the measure and encourage the remaining countries to follow suit.

To find out more about the event and to register for free please visit the website

For further information and comment from ERS, please contact: Lauren Anderson, ERS Press and Communications Manager, lauren.anderson@europeanlung.org / 00441142672876