by Dick Puddlecote
The EU And Its Imaginary Tobacco Friend As if to illustrate the incredibly blinkered ‘thinking’ from those pathologically opposed to tobacco, this amusing article turned up at the New Europe website over the weekend.
Europe caves in to Big Tobacco
It may surprise you to find out that he is talking about the recent EU Tobacco Products Directive, which has been roundly accepted to have ignored all sane voices throughout the continent. Most especially, those of tobacco companies.
Based on the information I‘ve been able to gather, it appears that the Commission has capitulated to cigarette firms.
Yep, it has ‘capitulated’ by banning menthol cigarettes entirely, standardising the size and shape of packets and enforcing 75% of their surface area to be devoted to gruesome packaging. That’s one helluva victory for the tobacco industry, eh?
Do you get the feeling that he – former writer for big business hating Guardian – might be less than detached and impartial here?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – a corporate-funded group that once boasted Donald Rumsfeld as chairman of its policy board – made a bizarre plea to Karel de Gucht, the EU‘s trade commissioner, in late 2010. […] ALEC dismissed all suggestions that putting cigarettes in unattractive wrappers dominated by images of disease could be beneficial for public health.
Hmm, sounds reminiscent of former Labour Minister of Health Gillian Merron’s thoughts on the matter in Hansard the year before.
No studies have been undertaken to show that plain packaging of tobacco would cut smoking uptake among young people or enable those who want to quit to do so. Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would undoubtedly need strong and convincing evidence of the benefits to health, as well as its workability, before this could be promoted and accepted at an international level.
Perhaps she was paid off by industry as well, despite government policy – especially that of Labour, let alone one of their loudest tobacco haters – being not to, err, talk to them at all.
Not surprisingly, ALEC didn‘t cite any actual data to support its inference that robust public health laws encourage perverse fetishes.
Rather like the plain packs campaign has managed to come up with no data either, except the corrupt type they pulled out of their self-interested, state-funded arses.
The Commission’s trade department has been broadly helpful to tobacco lobbyists. Rather than rowing behind Australia’s efforts, de Gucht and his team made enquiries in 2011 about whether or not plain packaging would constitute a “technical barrier to trade”.
That would probably have something to do with it being his job to do so. The clue is in the description of the department as trade – of which tobacco is a legal part, and a significant employer within the EU – and not health. It would also be something of a fascist dictatorship if such questions weren’t asked between departments in an organisation which still claims to be loosely democratic. Would it not?
We should not delude ourselves into thinking that the EU is at war with the tobacco industry. Sadly, it isn‘t.
Of course it isn’t. It completely ignored the vast majority of public consultation responses; in fact going so far as to airbrush out 82,000 which didn’t agree with their anti-tobacco bullying; before pushing through the directive despite its author being sacked and still being under investigation for corruption.
Yes. Sure. It couldn’t be more clear that the EU is tobacco’s biggest pal.