Sir: I’m a retailer with 16 newsagents in the East Midlands and I welcome measures to reduce the impact of smoking on public health. But I’m struggling to support the government’s position on recent tobacco regulations, as it seems to have one rule for the UK and another for Europe (‘Imperial and JTI slam EU tobacco proposals,’).
In July, the government declared it would wait “until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured before making a final decision” on packaging. Yet it has signed up to the European Commission’s new Tobacco Products Directive, which goes further than the UK proposals and would ban packs of 10, menthols and ‘slims’.
With the government agreeing more evidence is required in the UK, why is it endorsing prohibition in Europe? This just doesn’t make sense. What makes even less sense are the TPD proposals to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes as a medicinal product only.
I stock e-cigarettes and they are very popular. They are also a huge leap forward in moving people on to healthier alternatives. Restricting their availability would reduce the health benefits and needlessly impact the commercial interests of shopkeepers.
The government should take a leaf out of Conservative MEP Martin Callanan’s book. Last month, he stated: “The world has gone mad when tobacco is less regulated than products designed to end tobacco use.” Now there’s a clear thinking politician talking a bit of common sense.
Mick Garton, CEO, MSR Newsgroup & founder member of the Common Sense Alliance