Learning is achieved by repetition. Last week’s dedication of this page to the European antismoking effort was just a small, temporary spark of light in the darkness. Outdoor advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products should be banned. The tobacco advertising directive is not comprehensive enough, and does not treat Europeans equally. The state can profit from advertising on public bus stops and billboards, private individuals can profit from billboards on their property, and private enterprises who manage outdoor advertising can also profit from one of their greatest clients.
As was written last week, the broadcast and publishing world on the other hand cannot profit from tobacco advertising as it has been (rightfully) made illegal by the Tobacco Advertising Directive.
The health of European Citizens is a top priority, and the Treaties establishing the European Union highlight this. The Treaty of the Maastricht provides in Article 3a, that the activities of the Community shall include “a contribution to the attainment of a high level of health protection.” Article 129 of the Treaty also provides that Community action shall be directed towards the prevention of diseases, in particular the major health scourges. It also provides that health protection requirements shall form a constituent part of the European Union’s other policies.
It is not a matter of fairness. It is not a simple “why aren’t we getting a piece of that advertising pie.” It is a matter of principle. We don’t want to do harm to the European citizen by running these advertisements. Others shouldn’t have this possibility either.
On the Phillip Morris “Cooperation”
Phillip Morris has an agreement with the European Commission to give 1.25 billion Euro for the crackdown of cigarette contraband. Our questions to the European Commission remain: How can the European Commission lay out its hand and accept money (not just pennies, 1.25 billion Euro) from Philip Morris? Does the commission sincerely believe that Philip Morris is wholeheartedly donating this money for the crackdown of contraband? Why wouldn’t they take this initiative as a collective with other tobacco companies to reduce cost to themselves- unless they have their own political gains? Simply put, is this the greatest attempt to directly lobby into the heart of the European Union institutions cutting out the middle man (the lobbying companies) to make it look acceptable to the public? Can we just ignore the fact that Philip Morris is destroying the health of European citizens, contributing to the massive costs incurred to the health of Europeans and European health systems?