SMOKING KILLS:  Every year almost 700,000 people die prematurely in the European Union of tobacco-related causes such as cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. And yet, teenagers still start smoking at a very early age. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 20% of boys and 15% of girls aged between 13 and 15 in the European region smoke.
This is why Socialists and Democrats today welcomed the Commission's proposal to review the existing tobacco directive.
S&D spokesperson on health, Euro MP Linda McAvan, said:
"We need a tough law which cuts the number of new smokers and encourages smokers to quit.
"We support the Commission in its proposal to review packaging. Quite often the package design is a way to attract new smokers.  Public health must be the focus of any new measures and I therefore welcome strict controls on packaging, which would put an end to the kind of lipstick-style cigarette packs which are marketed at young women.
"Likewise, we support the proposed ban on flavours like menthol because it should make cigarettes less appealing to young people. Tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products – not dressed up to make them more attractive.
"Commissioner Borg has fulfilled his promise today to deliver the Tobacco Products Directive as soon as he came to office.  We welcome this and will closely examine his proposals and work with colleagues to bring about strong regulation of tobacco products in the EU in the interests of public health."
Victoria Martín de la Torre
+ 32 2 284 30 18
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