The new directive brings important changes on the tobacco market, many of which have been strongly contested by the companies doing business in this sector. According to the press release issued by the European Parliament on Dec. 18, 2013, the reason behind the stricter rules that will be implemented through the revision of the directive is mainly to discourage youth from smoking and to ban flavors and tobacco products considered to be misleading with respect to certain characteristics or benefits that could make them more appealing to consumers.

A major change brought by the new directive refers to the appearance of the packaging. Combined picture and text health warnings will now cover two thirds of the surface of the individual package on both sides, representing 65 percent of the surface of the package. Furthermore, each cigarette pack will mandatorily feature a general warning of the type Smoking kills quit now and the following informative message Tobacco smoke contains over 70 substances known to cause cancer .

The new directive also prohibits the sale of tobacco products that have a distinct flavor. For instance, member states will ban the marketing of tobacco products that have a distinguishable mint, fruit or vanilla flavor or that contain vitamins or other additives which might give the impression that they have health benefits as well as those that include caffeine, taurine or other stimulants for energy and vitality or additives that produce coloring effects in emissions.

With respect to the labeling of products, the directive prohibits the use of any elements or features that promote tobacco products or encourage tobacco use by creating a misleading impression with respect to its features and health effects. Consequently, labels and packages of tobacco products can no longer include references to the presence or absence of taste, smell or any other flavors or additives, cannot be similar to the labels and packaging for foods stuffs or cosmetics and cannot contain indications that the respective product has natural, organic, energizing properties. Since the directive provides that the elements and features prohibited can also include texts, symbols, names, trademarks, figurative elements or other signs, it lays the groundwork for member states to introduce even stricter rules with respect to the packaging of tobacco products, such as plain packaging.

Plain packaging has so far been adopted in Australia, where the domestic legislation allows for cigarettes to be sold in dark brown packs displaying large sized health images and text warnings and prohibits the display of trademarks on cigarette packs unless written in standard small letters.

The introduction of plain packaging is also supported in Ireland and the United Kingdom by recent statements issued by the public authorities in both countries on April 3. New Zealand has also recently issued a legislative bill that would amend the legislation currenty in force, by introducing plain packaging for tobacco products.

However, both the representatives of tobacco companies as well as the intellectual property associations INTA, ECTA, MARQUES, AIPPI, LES etc. have reacted negatively to the introduction of plain packaging, expressing concerns throughout the recent years in what regards various issues that could be raised by the introduction of legal provisions that expressly ban the use of trademarks with figurative elements and colored logos.

In the comments submitted recently by ECTA to the New Zealand Parliament bill it is stated that the proposed legislation is in conflict with the property rights of trade mark owners, since it amounts to a deprivation or property rights by prohibiting any use of trademarks registered by the tobacco companies. Further, ECTA also argues that introducing plain packaging may generate an increase in the trade in counterfeit and contraband cigarettes.

In our view, such effect would be an indirect consequence of the mandatory elimination of the specific details and graphical elements applied by manufacturers, for security purposes, on the packaging and labels of tobacco products and the introduction of plain, generic labels much easier to be copied by infringers.

Last but not least, the introduction of plain packaging could also breach a number of other fundamental rights and freedoms. In addition to depriving a right to property, it also breaches the freedom of expression (of entities doing business on the tobacco markets) and the freedom to carry out a commercial activity. Also, the prohibition to use certain trademarks would most like have financial implications for the holders of such intellectual property rights, both by generating a loss of the amounts already invested in their trademarks registration, protection and enforcement, as well as by diminishing the value acquired by such trademarks through their extensive use on the market and the investments in their advertising.”

The new Tobacco directive is scheduled to enter into force in May 2014, 20 days after publication in the Official Journal. Member states are granted two years as of its entry into force for putting into effect the new provisions.

Ana Maria Baciu is a partner and heads the Intellectual Property division, in addition to managing the Consumer Protection, Pharmaceutical and Health Care and Gaming practices at NNDKP in Romania. Andreea Bende is a Senior IP Counsel and is licensed as a European trademark and design attorney.

Martin callanan » callanan: eu law on e-cigarettes has been made on the back of a fag packet

Where in cumming georgia can you buy smokeless cigarettes

MEPs today held their final vote on the Tobacco Products Directive, which sets out a number of measures to discourage younger people from taking up smoking, such as larger pack warnings and a ban on flavourings. However, MEPs have also voted to introduce 14 pages of new red tape on e cigs (which deliver nicotine using vapour to avoid many of the harmful side effects of smoking such as tar, smoke and carbon monoxide). The new rules will ban refillable e cigs (which comprise a large component of the e cigs market), if only three EU countries ban them. It would also restrict all but the weaker e cigarettes (20 mg/ml nicotine), which would risk cigarette users going back to cigarettes in order to achieve the same nicotine hit .

Martin has fought a long campaign for e cigarettes to be regulated in a manner proportionate to the evidence that exists on them. He has received thousands of emails and letters from users who argue that the products have enabled them to move off of tobacco.

Last October, when the matter first came to a vote in the parliament, Conservative MEPs fought off efforts to force e cigs to undergo a medicinal authorisation procedure that would have placed many small manufacturers under threat. However, despite the vote of the parliament in favour of e cigs, the Commission and a few MEPs took it upon themselves to add a whole new article to the directive during the late night closed doors negotiations between the parliament and national governments seeking the agreement necessary to pass the proposals into law.

Speaking after today s vote, which is expected to become law by 2016, Martin said

E cigs are not healthy, but they are surely far better for you than smoking tobacco. We have fought for sensible regulation on e cigs that recognises the role they have played in taking many thousands of people off of smoking.

The parliament voted for e cigs to be lightly regulated until we know what regulation might be required. Yet sneaky MEPs and commission officials sneaked a whole raft of red tape into back room negotiations without discussing them with e cigs users or other MEPs. We have drafted huge parts of this law on the back of a fag packet with decisions about smoke filled rooms ironically being made in smoke filled rooms in Brussels.

The majority of the Tobacco Products Directive is on the zealous end of the scale but we could have accepted it. However, what we could not accept is the draconian restrictions on e cigs that were adopted. I believe we have completely failed to deliver the aim of discouraging smoking. By making it harder for smokers to get hold of e cigs of the strength they require, we just increase the chance of them resuming smoking tobacco.