Brussels, 04/05/2016. The European Court of Justice has today delivered its judgment on the 2014 EU Tobacco Products Directive, which will fully enter into force on 20 May 2016. The ECJ has concluded that the extensive standardisation of packaging, the future EU-wide prohibition on menthol cigarettes and the special rules for electronic cigarettes are lawful, and rejects objections raised by Poland and Romania, Philip Morris and Pillbox38 (maker of e-cigarettes) respectively.

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) welcomes the ECJ judgement and calls for all EU and national institutions to respect the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to reduce the damage done by tobacco products worldwide, including 700,000 premature deaths each year in the EU.

EPHA Secretary-General Nina Renshaw says, "Today’s decision confirms the legality of the Tobacco Products Directive, but also illustrates the tactics used by the tobacco lobby to try to intimidate governments not to introduce smokefree policies and tobacco control measures, which are urgently needed to save lives and reduce the massive burden of cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases including COPD on our health services. The ECJ rightly emphasises that EU has first and foremost a duty to protect a high standard of public health under the Treaty. Now that the legal questions are settled once and for all, governments must not delay implementation any longer."

"Today’s ruling is also a timely reminder that the EU and national officials should not meet with tobacco lobbyists, under the UN Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which all governments and the EU have signed. Incredibly, this is still happens, particularly at DG Trade. We have seen particularly intense lobbying from the tobacco industry around the TTIP negotiations. But shockingly President Juncker has rejected strong recommendations from the EU Ombudsman slamming the lack of transparency in Commission dealings with tobacco lobbyists. The door must be closed once and for all on the tobacco lobby."

Catherine Hartmann, Vice-President of EPHA and Secretary General of the European COPD Coalition (ECC) said "ECC welcomes the ruling, this is good news for public health as the EU Tobacco Products Directive mainly aims at preventing taking up smoking and will therefore, act as a measure to prevent COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as many other chronic diseases".

For more information on the Court’s decision click here.

####

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) is a change agent - Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. We are a dynamic member-led organisation, made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe. EPHA is a member of, among others, the Social Platform, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the EU Civil Society Contact Group and the Better Regulation Watchdog. http://www.epha.org/

Last modified on May 4 2016.