This is quite shocking, because people do believe that in Europe many things are done well and that many problems have already been solved, Kristina Mauer Stender, the Copenhagen based tobacco program manager at the WHO for Europe, said in an interview.

In the Americas, smokers account for 20 percent of the adult population. The smoking rate is 25 percent in the western Pacific region and 22 percent in the Mideast.

European smoking rates dropped 7 percentage points between 2005 and 2011, according to the WHO. One of the biggest declines was in the U.K., where smoking dropped to 22 percent for both men and women in 2011 from 37 percent and 35 percent in 2005 respectively.

Austrian women led an increase in female smoking with a 7 percentage point increase, while such figures increased by 3 percentage points or more in France, the Czech Republic and Lithuania between 2005 and 2011, according to WHO data.

Alarming Rate

Tobacco use among women and girls in Europe is accelerating at an alarming rate, the United Nations agency said. Smoking among young girls is now on par with boys in the region, which includes Russia and eastern Europe.

I m shocked at how young some of the kids are who stop me on the street to bum cigarettes, said Raya Hela, 23, a student living in central Paris who started in high school. She gets requests from children in middle school, who are typically 11 to 15 years old.

European countries have led the world in taxing tobacco, which the WHO has said is the most cost effective way to reduce smoking rates. Worldwide, 32 countries have duties high enough so that 75 percent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes is tax 25 of those nations are in Europe. A 10 percent increase in tobacco prices cuts consumption by about 4 percent in high income countries and as much as 8 percent in poorer nations, the WHO has said.

France plans a 20 centime per pack increase in January, scaling back a plan for a 40 centime increase, Le Figaro reported last week.

Flavor Ban

The European Union is considering new rules for smoking and tobacco related marketing which include a ban on flavored cigarettes, limits on the use of e cigarettes and increasing the size of the warning labels on packages. A final vote is expected in springtime.

While the EU has banned tobacco advertising in print media, on the radio and Internet, Europe lags behind all other regions in terms of banning marketing in the WHO survey. Only Albania, Spain and Turkey ban all forms of direct and indirect advertising, the WHO said.

Scotland aims to be smoke free by 2034. Ireland, New Zealand and Finland have also set deadlines to reduce smoking to less than 5 percent of the population.

Football Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes may undermine the Scottish smoke free target as tobacco companies may use them to attract new consumers to traditional cigarettes, said Sheila Duffy, head of ASH Scotland, an anti smoking group. The products aren t covered by Scotland s smoking ban, age requirements and advertising restrictions, she said. E Lites sponsor Scotland s two major football teams, Rangers and Celtic, and sell e cigarettes with tips that glow in the club colors.

That s aimed at hooking the next generation into nicotine addiction, Duffy said.

In the U.K., the government is considering requiring plain packaging, eliminating logos and marketing on tobacco packs, a measure Australia has adopted.

The French government should fund more campaigns to prevent teen smoking, said Laura Pivron, a 21 year old pack a day smoker who was braving chilly weather in Paris without coats or gloves to smoke.

It s expensive and bad for me, but it also helps reduce stress, she said. I would tell kids at school not even to try smoking because once they start it s impossible to stop.

To contact the reporters on this story Allison Connolly in London at aconnolly4 Tara Patel in Paris at tpatel2

To contact the editor responsible for this story Phil Serafino at pserafino

Revision of the tobacco products directive – european commission

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The Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU)(2 MB) ????????? (bg) e tina (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti keel (et) (el) espa&ntilde ol (es) francais (fr) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latvie u valoda (lv) lietuvi kalba (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) portugu&ecirc s (pt) rom&acirc n (ro) sloven ina (sk) sloven ina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv) , will improve the functioning of the internal market for tobacco and related products, while ensuring a high level of health protection for European citizens. This new Directive which is based on the proposal of the European Commission, will enter into force on 19 May 2014.

More than ten years have passed since the adoption of the first Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC), making it necessary to update the Directive in order to bring it in line with market, scientific and international developments in the tobacco sector. The Council and European Parliament have also repeatedly called on the Commission to address the weaknesses, gaps and loopholes in the existing rules.

Key steps in the legislative process

  • 19 May 2014 Entry into force
  • 14 March 2014 The Council adopts the revised Tobacco Products Directive
    The Council has formally approved the revised law regulating tobacco products on the EU market. The new legislation will improve the functioning of the internal market for tobacco and related products and mean that tobacco products look and taste like tobacco, thereby discouraging young people from starting to smoke. Following signature by the Presidents of both the Council and Parliament, and subsequent publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the new legislation will enter into force. It will have to be transposed by the Member States within two years.
  • 26 February 2014 The European Parliament formally approves the revised Tobacco Products Directive
    The European Parliament has endorsed the political agreement reached with the EU Member States on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. This is a major achievement for tobacco control in the EU. The new Directive sets in place more stringent rules for tobacco and related products. From a public health perspective, the Directive focuses on limiting their appeal, in particular to young people. The new measures cover labelling, ingredients, tracking and tracing, e cigarettes, cross border distance sales, and herbal products for smoking and will facilitate the smooth functioning of the EU market for tobacco and related products.
    • Statement of Commissioner Tonio Borg
    • Questions & answers New rules on tobacco products
    • Mythbuster E cigarettes(251 KB)
    • Infographic(4 MB)
  • 18 December 2013 EU Member States and the European Parliament support strengthening the rules on tobacco and related products in Europe
    • Press Release (Council)
    • Press Release (European Parliament)
    • Statement/Press Release of Commissioner Tonio Borg
  • 8 October 2013 European Parliament gives a negotiating mandate to MEP Linda McAvan
    • Press Release (European Parliament)
    • Procedure File (European Parliament)
    • Statement of Commissioner Tonio Borg
  • 10 July 2013 EP ENVI Committee adopts report on TPD
  • 21 June 2013 Council agrees on revision of tobacco rules
  • 19 December 2012 Adoption of the proposal by the European Commission(279 KB) Deutsch (de) francais (fr)

Proposal of the European Commission

  • Press release, memo, Commissioner’s presentation(221 KB), infograph on tobacco(4 MB)
  • Citizens’ summary of the revision(23 KB)
  • Proposal for a revision of the tobacco products directive(279 KB) Deutsch (de) francais (fr) (impact assessment(3 MB), summary of the impact assessment(115 KB) Deutsch (de) francais (fr) )
  • The current Tobacco Products Directive (2001/37/EC)(276 KB) ????????? (bg) e tina (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti keel (et) (el) espa&ntilde ol (es) francais (fr) hrvatski (hr) italiano (it) latvie u valoda (lv) lietuvi kalba (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) portugu&ecirc s (pt) rom&acirc n (ro) sloven ina (sk) sloven ina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv)
  • EC reports
    • Report summarising the public consultation on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive
    • European Commission second report on the application of the Tobacco Products Directive(340 KB) ????????? (bg) e tina (cs) dansk (da) Deutsch (de) eesti keel (et) (el) espa&ntilde ol (es) francais (fr) italiano (it) latvie u valoda (lv) lietuvi kalba (lt) magyar (hu) Malti (mt) Nederlands (nl) polski (pl) portugu&ecirc s (pt) rom&acirc n (ro) sloven ina (sk) sloven ina (sl) suomi (fi) svenska (sv)
  • eNews
    • Tobacco products proposal Setting the record straight on 10 common myths (30 May 2013)
  • Factsheets for information on specific policy areas
    • E cigarettes(50 KB)
    • Menthol cigarettes(49 KB)
    • Slim cigarettes(61 KB)
    • Health warnings(131 KB)
  • Studies and opinions (These documents do not represent the point of view of the European Commission. The interpretations and opinions contained in it are solely those of the authors)
    • Study on the impact of a revision of the directive(4 MB)
    • Economic analysis of the EU market of tobacco, nicotine and related products(3 MB)
    • Study on liability and the health costs of smoking (Updated final report, April 2012)(2 MB)
    • Review of the science base to support the development of health warnings for tobacco packages(2 MB)
    • Study on availability, accessibility, usage and regulatory environment for novel and emerging tobacco, nicotine or related products (2 MB)
    • SCENIHR Opinion on Addictiveness and Attractiveness of Tobacco Additives(892 KB)
    • SCENIHR Opinion on Health Effects of Smokeless Tobacco Products
  • Meetings
    • Meetings with stakeholders on the TPD revision
    • Meetings of the Regulatory Committee for Tobacco Control