“Poland will not support the draft directive on tobacco,” said Health Ministry spokesman Krzysztof Bak, in an interview with Polish Radio.

“We are taking into account the consequences,” he added.

The Health Ministry had been instructed to prepare a document outlining the government’s stance on the matter, but was obliged to draw on opinions from the ministries of agriculture, finance and the economy.

In spite of the Health Ministry’s reference to 90,000 deaths in Poland per year as a result of smoking related diseases, the opinions of the other ministries proved decisive.

The Ministry of Agriculture outlined that Poland is the largest exporter of tobacco products in the EU.

Revenues from these exports amount to 36 percent of those for all agricultural and food related products.

Meanwhile, budget revenues in 2012 for taxes on tobacco products amounted to 20 million zloty (4.7 million euro).

In December, after the European Commission passed a proposal for the directive, Polish tobacco growers and cigarette manufacturers sent a letter to Prime Minister Donald Tusk, calling for the government to oppose the legislation.

“Polish tobacco growers will suffer, and the elimination of many plantations as well as reduced orders will mean corporations making redundancies,” wrote head of the Polish Tobacco Association Przemys aw Noworyta, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

The draft directive is intended “to deter young people from starting to smoking,” according to Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, as quoted by the Europolitics daily.

Besides banning cigarettes that are supposedly “too attractive”, the draft legislation also seeks to ensure that cigarette packets carry health warnings that cover 75 percent of the front of each packet.

The Ministry of Agriculture has called on the government to form a coalition of EU member states that are against the ban.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has forecast that if the legislation is passed, work on the directive will take about two years, and the prospective changes would not come into force until late 2014 or 2015. (nh)

Eu slowly making cigarettes illegal

Discount cigarettes: cheap cigarettes online. discount cigarettes box

Cigarettes and smoking are possibly the last form of civil disobedience left, and the European Parliament keeps chipping away at it. Recently they voted to ban flavoured cigarettes, including menthol, from 2022, and to have warnings cover 65% o the pack. In addition, they have banned smaller, 10 cigarette packs.

However, in an unusual bout of common sense, they have decided not to regulate e cigarettes as medicines, throwing the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) plans into disarray. The MHRA wanted e cigarettes to be regulated on the same bases as the various (and broadly ineffective) gums, patches and mouth sprays that purport to help smokers quit. However, the expensive and laborious process of licensing would likely lead to e cigarettes leaving the market.

Why all the fuss about e cigarette regulation? I think the answer is partly because EU busybodies hate anything that’s not regulated. A very believable conspiracy theory puts pharmaceutical lobbying behind the attempts at regulation, since all the nicotine patches and other completely useless products are losing out to e cigarettes. However, for now, e cigarettes are safe.

So what’s the reasoning behind all this nannying? Well, apparently, flavoured cigarettes are more enticing to women and teenagers. The ban on smaller packs is there in hopes that shelling out for a 20 cigarette pack will be a step too far for kids and social smokers. It will also affect people who are trying to cut down. Bigger warnings on the cover are unlikely to be of much use either I think no one buys a packet and thinks “Wow, I didn’t know this is bad for you, I shouldn’t smoke it!”

A black market in cigarettes is also beginning to flourish in the EU, partly because of all the sin taxes, with around 1 in 10 cigarettes smoked coming from across the Eastern border, tax free. Far be it for me to condemn the black market anything people do to deprive the state is a good thing.

In the longterm, cigarettes are probably going out, whether that’s due to better education, increased prices, or simply because of a change in culture, where smoking is no longer a socially acceptable thing to do. But prohibition is not the way to go about it. Now, no one, except for a few crackpots, doubt that smoking is harmful and dangerous. However, a free society means people free to make their own choices, even when those choices are bad ones.