The European Commission has derailed an attempt by the tobacco industry to use a low-profile industry standards organization to sway Brussels on proposed changes to cigarette packaging. Big Tobacco planned to use the outside group as a Trojan horse to push its preferred packaging technology over that of its competitors, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The Commission faces a looming deadline to implement controversial and expensive “track and trace” measures that are intended to fight tobacco counterfeiting and smuggling.
The tobacco companies’ move backfired, the documents show. A top Commission health official intervened to scuttle the campaign and told the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to keep out-of-the-way. The organization, established by industry to set common standards for consumer goods, backed down and said it would defer to the Commission.
The behind the scenes clash is the latest skirmish between the tobacco lobby and the Commission, and comes at a politically trying time for cigarette makers. It follows the adoption of new EU laws through the Tobacco Products Directive that force tobacco companies to change their packaging to make them possible to trace through the distribution chain. The Commission must also choose from a range of high-tech digital watermarks to prevent counterfeit. Read full article
Quintin Harris (21 January 2016) Brussels blocks Big Tobacco lobbying push [editorial]. Retrieved from http://ow.ly/Xmn8d