Coreper

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COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 8 October 2010

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Presidency Permanent Representatives Committee (Part 1) WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Fourth session of the Conference of the Parties - Preparation of the European Union's position with a view to the guidelines for implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the ConventionI.

INTRODUCTION

The Public Health Working Party is currently preparing the negotiation mandate for the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (hereafter “FCTC”), to be held on 15 -20 November in Punta del Este (UY).

The FCTC is an international treaty concluded under the auspices of the World Health Organisation. It was adopted by theWorld Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. The treaty was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. According to article 3, its main objective is:

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“to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption andexposure to tobacco smoke by providing a framework for tobacco control measures”.

Conference agenda item 5.2 concerns the adoption of guidelines for the implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the FCTC on the regulation of the contents of tobacco products and the regulation of tobacco products disclosure. These guidelines consist of non-binding recommendations which may be used by the Partieswhen they implement the associated articles of the FCTC.

During the Spanish Presidency, following the invitation of the FCTC Secretariat of 6 May 2010, the Working Party on Public Health examined the first version of the draft guidelines and preliminary comments were submitted to the FCTC Secretariat. The final version of the draft guidelines was made available in September and discussed at themeetings of the Working Party on Public Health on 17 September and 7 October 2010.

In spite of significant progress achieved on the overall text, there is one essential question on which no consensus on a common position could be found at Working Party level. Therefore, discussion in Coreper is required. Related to this question, there is one minor issue that also needs to be dealt with.

II.MAIN ISSUE TO BE ADDRESSED BY COREPER

One of the objectives of the guidelines is to support the Parties in developing effective tobacco product regulation. Tobacco product regulation has the potential to contribute to reducing tobacco-attributable disease and premature death by:

1. reducing the attractiveness of tobacco products, 2. reducing their addictiveness and 3. reducing theiroverall toxicity.

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At this stage, Coreper is invited to address the specific issue of attractiveness.

In the past, measures to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products have been included in guidelines on packaging and labelling of tobacco products (Article 11) and on advertising, promotion and sponsorship (Article 13).

This time, the guidelines focuson the ingredients. The guidelines start from the premise that tobacco products are commonly made to be attractive in order to encourage their use. However, from the perspective of public health, there is no justification for permitting the use of ingredients, such as flavouring agents, which help make tobacco products attractive. By regulating ingredients aimed at reducing tobacco productattractiveness, inducements to use tobacco can be limited.

The guidelines contain 4 precise recommendations regarding the regulation of ingredients in the context of attractiveness:

Parties should either prohibit or restrict ingredients that may be used to increase palatability, such as sugars and sweeteners, flavouring substances, and spices and herbs, in cigarette-like tobacco products....
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