The EU's Tobacco Products Directive helps more people to smoke

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee held another hearing this morning as part of its investigation into e-cigarettes. (Click here to read the evidence we submitted to the committee) The witnesses in the first session were Dr Ian Jones, Vice President, Reduced-Risk Products, Japan Tobacco International; Dr Chris Proctor, Chief Scientific Officer, British American Tobacco; Dr Moira Gilchrist, Vice President, Scientific and Public Communications, Philip Morris Limited; and Dr Grant O’Connell, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, Fontem Ventures. 

All four witnesses were excellent. They gave open answers, exactly what the committee wanted. I won't go through everything that was said as you can watch it here. Instead I will quickly focus on a comment Dr. Gilchrist made on advertising restrictions imposed on the industry in the EU's Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). 

Dr. Gilchrist commented that it is illegal to insert a card into a packet of cigarettes that would advertise tobacco harm reduction (THR) products to existing smokers. Think about that. The target market for e-cigarettes and heat not burn is existing smokers. Only smokers are going to buy a packet of cigarettes. When it comes to advertising, you can't get more targeted than an insert in a product that only those in your target market will buy. 

Smokers who are considering giving up are likely to be aware of some alternative THR products on the market. The most obvious being e-cigarettes. But most will not be aware of heat not burn. Surely it is sensible to allow tobacco companies to advertise their other products to existing customers? If a smoker chooses to give up smoking, that is their decision, however, to deny a company the right to advertise safer products to their existing adult customers, is bonkers. But we know most of the TPD is bonkers. It was drafted by bureaucrats who didn't have a clue about the industry they were regulating. 


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Photo Credit: TBEC Review Follow

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