Is it possible to ban tobacco?

New EU Tobacco Product Directive

The directive (2001/37 / EG) regulates the "manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products", e.g. B. the design of the warning notices, the disclosure of additives and the prohibition of certain product names such as "mild" or "light". This directive was passed by the European Parliament and the Council in 2001 and implemented in Germany in 2002.

Article 11 of the directive stipulates that the Commission should, as a rule, submit a report on the application of the directive every two years. After two reports in 2005 and 2007, the Commission decided to revise the Tobacco Products Directive and started an impact assessment of possible changes.

Part of this impact assessment was an online consultation of EU citizens and stakeholders from business, non-governmental organizations and public authorities, which took place from 24 September to 17 December 2010. The European Commission made it clear that it would take into account the opinions and information from the public consultation.

The results of the consultation were available in July 2011: A total of 85,513 objections were submitted - never before has a comparably high number been reached. 96 percent of the objections came from EU citizens, which is a clear sign of the strong public interest in the topic.

Most of the submissions from EU citizens were directed against the new regulatory proposals. Many citizens doubted that the introduction of one-size-fits-all packaging and pictorial warnings would prevent young people from smoking or curb the spread of smoking. Rather, they saw the danger that illegal trade would be facilitated.

On December 19, 2012, the European Commission presented its proposal for a new directive. At the end of 2013, there was political agreement on the new directive between the member states of the EU and the members of the European Parliament. The formal adoption took place on February 26, 2014 in the European Parliament and on March 14, 2014 by the member states in the EU Council of Ministers. After the directive was published in the Official Journal of the EU and came into force twenty days later, the member states had to transpose the amended provisions into national law within a period of 24 months.

The new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which came into force on May 19, 2014, provides for a tightening of the regulations for the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. This directive had to be implemented in national law by May 2016.

For the local tobacco industry, the worst fears appear to be emerging. The recently published regulation proposals by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the implementation of the tobacco product directive adopted by the EU into national law provide for considerable tightening for the entire industry. The federal government wants to go far beyond the EU directive and, contrary to the coalition agreement, is not planning a 1: 1 implementation. Instead of the product regulation envisaged by the EU, there is a threat of far-reaching market regulation. The previous proposals have therefore met with harsh criticism from SMEs, industry and trade union representatives.
The actual goal of consumers smoking significantly less is far from being achieved. Instead, more than 100,000 jobs in Germany are at stake, gushing tax revenues are being ignored and numerous smaller companies are being pushed to the brink of extinction.

In addition to numerous tightenings, five key points represent the most serious challenges for the industry:

Production standstill due to lack of transition periods
A conversion of the production facilities on May 20, 2016 posed a considerable challenge for the company. The necessary legally compliant changes in production and trade do not happen overnight. This was also confirmed by a technical report from the HTWK Leipzig commissioned by the German Cigarette Association. For the technical implementation of cigarettes and tobacco for rolling yourself at least 15 months are required, for the conversion of the packaging machinery for tobacco for rolling yourself at least 20 months. What would be unthinkable for other industries is an absurd and fatal scenario for the domestic tobacco industry: standstill at the production sites due to a lack of legal security and a lack of transition periods.

Ban on menthol
Going alone nationally, menthol-flavored cigarettes are to be banned from May 2016, not just from 2020. While Poland is even suing the European Court of Justice against the menthol ban, Germany wants to waive the four-year transition period. In the European internal market, this amounts to an invitation to buy tobacco products abroad and pay the tobacco tax there instead of the German one - an economic and fiscal policy mistake. The result will be losses for industry and trade and a loss in tax revenues. As a result, the German tax authorities lose up to EUR 1.8 billion in tax revenues.

Arbitrary culture of prohibition of additives
In addition, numerous bans on certain ingredients are scientifically incomprehensible and arbitrary. The recipes of a large part of the tobacco products are to be converted within a very short time. This also counteracts the almost impossible timely production changeover. While the CDU's thesis paper on the European elections still said “Diversity instead of uniformity ...”, medium-sized businesses are now threatened with the loss of their product diversity. The door and gate for standard products are open.
The fact that the factories located in this country produce two thirds of their total production for export, making Germany the world champion in exports, also seems to be irrelevant. Because the deletion of the previously valid export regulations of the Provisional Tobacco Act is also incomprehensible. Thousands of jobs in the German factory locations are carelessly jeopardized.

Image warnings for pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarillos
While the middle class was singled out in the coalition agreement as a highly innovative employment engine for Germany, the political approach reveals exactly the opposite. With the argument of improved protection of minors, the proposed regulation also provides for image warning notices beyond the cigarette in the future. From the point of view of medium-sized manufacturers, this is not feasible from an economic point of view, the result will be a limited variety of products and offers. Also not expedient, especially since pipe tobacco, cigars and cigarillos are predominantly and undisputedly consumed by older target groups.

Communication with the consumer undesirable
Driven by the health craze, politicians finally want a comprehensive advertising ban for all tobacco products. Poster and cinema advertising as well as the free distribution of products to adults as the only remaining forms of advertising would no longer be permitted. Basic rules of the social market economy are deliberately violated. Manufacturers of legal products in this country could no longer communicate with their customers and advertise a product that could be freely sold to adults.
The ban on poster and cinema advertising as well as the hidden additional communication bans also have an anti-business effect: the Fachverband Außenwerbung e.V. estimates the direct damage caused by such an advertising ban for tobacco products at around 250 million euros per year.

From the point of view of the German tobacco industry, the federal government's plans are a disproportionate and unnecessary burden on industry, trade and the state. An entire industry is therefore demanding the absolutely necessary 1: 1 implementation of the EU directive and an extension of the deadline.