• May 19, 2024

Smokers are citizens

 Smokers are citizens

A smokers’ group is calling on the EU to stop treating adult smokers, who make up 26 of the EU’s population, like second-class citizens.

Forest EU wants the EU to respect the right of smokers to make informed choices about smoking a legal product.

These demands are contained in the group’s just-published 2017 manifesto, Smokers Are Citizens Too. The document, described as comprehensive and ‘independent’, looks at the policies affecting smokers and considers what alternative policies governments and EU institutions should pursue.

The 10-page document, which is the size of a pack of cigarettes, tackles issues such as smoking bans, standardized packaging, excessive taxation and youth education.

In launching the manifesto, Forest EU’s director, Guillaume Périgois, said that one in four, or 100 million, EU adult citizens smoked.

“Yet, across the EU, smokers are being punished and ostracised for a habit they enjoy,” he said.

“This has to stop: Adult smokers should be allowed to make the informed choice to consume a legal product without excessive regulations and oppressive taxation.

“Forest EU calls national governments and EU institutions to stop treating Europe’s smokers like second-class citizens, cut tobacco taxes, focus on education programs in schools and conduct a review of the impact of the Tobacco Products Directive before any additional regulation is attempted.”

Key elements of the manifesto are:

  • ‘Smokers represent 26 percent of the population in the European Union.
  • ‘Smokers contributed €81 billion to the public budgets in excise duties in 2015.
  • ‘In January 2017 an average of 79.6 percent of the price of a pack of cigarettes in the EU was duties and taxes.
  • ‘If all cigarettes sold on the black market were sold legally, the budget of the EU and its member states would receive above €10 billion annually.’

Key conclusions of the manifesto are:

  • ‘Stop treating Europe’s adult smokers like second-class citizens and respect their right to make informed choices about smoking a legal product.
  • ‘Reduce the punitive tax on tobacco and stop encouraging illicit trade. Focus on targeted education programs in schools to make sure children are aware of the risks of smoking from a young age.
  • ‘Conduct an evidence-based review of the impact of the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2) and attempt no further legislation on tobacco before the directive has met its objectives.’