The EC’s Tobacco Product Directive dates from 2001. Officials in Brussels believe there may be a need to revise it and a few months ago they launched a "public consultation" ... which is fine except that very few people know about it.
Respondents to this exercise in democracy are invited to select from a range of options that are featured in the consultation document, one of thousands of EC documents that the general public never read.
It includes options to:
- introduce plain packaging
- enlarge the size of graphic health warnings
- ban vending machines
- prohibit the display of tobacco products, and, oh,
- ban ALL smokeless tobacco products
Forest opposes all those options because we are passionate about "unnecessarily restrictive regulations that will threaten jobs and small businesses, inconvenience millions of law-abiding consumers, and are designed to denormalise a legal product".
In recent weeks British retailers have been making their views known courtesy of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Scottish Grocers Federation and the Scottish Wholesale Association. Now it's the turn of the consumer.
Today Forest is launching an online response form to oppose the options listed above. It takes less than a minute to fill in your name and address and Forest will do the rest.
If you prefer you can download a petition. Sign it and fax it to 01223 370040 or post it to Forest, Sheraton House, Castle Park, Cambridge CB3 0AX, and we will send it to the EC on your behalf.
Closing date for the EC consultation is Friday 17 December 2010. If however you are sending your response via Forest we must receive it no later than Wednesday 15 December 2010.
Whatever your view of the EC, the EU or the European Parliament, it is important that the consumer engages in this consultation. Failure to do so will undoubtedly weaken our position.
Tell family, friends and work colleagues about the consultation and invite them to respond too.
We don't make a habit of asking for your help because we are conscious of 'campaign fatigue'. This however is one of those occasions when we need your direct input. There is very little time left so please act on this today.
The Morning Advertiser has the story here: Pro-smoking group petitions against EU regulations. Ditto Talking Retail: Forest launches petition against EU proposals on tobacco.
As of five o'clock this afternoon 514 people had signed the petition. Our target is 2000. I would be disappointed with less so we do need your help. Please sign, if you haven't done so already, and invite your friends to add their names too. Bloggers, please give the petition a mention and I will link to your post.