Informing, not advertising

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Informing, not advertising

September 25, 2018

The EU Commission has reiterated that, within the Union, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship without cross-border implications are regulated at member state level.

The Commission was replying in writing to a question by the French member of the EU Parliament, Sophie Montel.

‘The EU says that it is committed to tobacco control, bearing in mind that, every year, nicotine addiction takes a toll of 700,000 victims in Europe and causes seven million deaths worldwide,’ Montel said in a preamble to her question.

‘That is why the EU Tobacco Products Directive prohibits manufacturers from claiming that one of their products is less harmful than another: tobacco consumption in any form is dangerous.

‘Philip Morris is now marketing an electronic device (IQOS) for smoking “heated tobacco”, as opposed to the tobacco that gets burned when it is smoked in conventional cigarettes.

‘Although it is legal to market this device, the company’s advertising seeking to publicise it is illegal in some countries, including France, and its claims that its product entails a lower risk of harm are at odds with the EU Tobacco Products Directive.’

Montel asked: ‘Does not the Commission think that every form of advertising of tobacco products or the like (e-cigarettes) should be completely banned in all member states and that manufacturers ought to be penalised when they dream up ways to circumvent the rules?’

In reply, the Commission said that the EU regulatory framework for advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products – including novel tobacco products – had been set up by Directive 2003/33/EC (Tobacco Advertising Directive) and Directive 2010/13/EU (Audio-visual Media Services Directive). ‘The Tobacco Advertising Directive prohibits cross-border tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the media other than television,’ it said. ‘The ban covers print media, radio, internet and sponsorship of events involving several member states. Member states are responsible for enforcement including laying down and implementing the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions that are put in place pursuant to the Directive.

‘Article 9(d) of the Audio-visual Media Services Directive prohibits all forms of audio-visual commercial communications for tobacco products, including product placement and sponsorship, on television and on-demand audio-visual media services.

‘The scope of the Tobacco Advertising Directive results from the Court’s finding that the EU could legitimately only introduce a ban on certain types of tobacco advertising and sponsorship with cross-border implications on the basis of Article 95 of the EC Treaty (now Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU – approximation of laws). Therefore, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship without cross-border implications are regulated at member state level.

‘Meanwhile, Directive 2014/40/EU (Tobacco Products Directive) regulates the labelling and packaging of tobacco products including heated tobacco.

‘More specifically, Article 13 bans the display of any element or feature on packaging suggesting that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than another.’

Category: Breaking News

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