Philip Morris International Inc.’s (PMI) (NYSE/Euronext Paris: PM) Vice President, Communications, Julie Soderlund, issued the following statement today commenting on the European Commission’s proposal for the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive:
“PMI is pleased that the Commission has finally issued its proposed Tobacco Products Directive so that it now may be reviewed and debated in an open, transparent, objective and constructive manner by all concerned in the coming months.
“An initial reading of the proposal suggests that many of the recommended measures will not achieve the Commission’s public health goals and will result in numerous unintended adverse consequences which appear to have been disregarded by its authors.
“The proposed Directive explicitly prohibits products that account for approximately 10 percent of the European Union cigarette market, and in some member states more than 30 percent of the market, despite the fact that there is no credible scientific evidence that these products are more harmful than others or that taking them off the market will reduce smoking rates. At a time when Europe can least afford it, the Commission’s proposal ignores the massive black market for tobacco products which already costs member states 10 billion euros annually, but advocates measures that will undoubtedly fuel its further growth.
“In addition, the proposal would significantly limit consumer access to, and information about, products that have the very real potential to reduce the harm caused by conventional tobacco products. In doing this the Commission has chosen not only to stifle innovation but also to ignore the potential these products have to improve public health.
“We trust that the hostility of some towards our industry will not blind them to the important economic, legal and societal issues that this proposed Directive raises. We believe that its numerous flaws need to be addressed to ensure that the EU implements a regulatory framework for tobacco products in Europe that is fair, science-based and effective in reducing the harm caused by smoking without imposing unnecessary burden on the economy. Europe deserves nothing less.”