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The tobacco giant Philip Morris “has spent millions in an attempt to delay the EU legislation

Confidential documents has revealed a formidable lobbying operation that waged by a tobacco giant seeks to undermine the efforts to make cigarettes less attractive to children and women, and the power packs to perform large health warnings.
Documents obtained by the Observer show how Philip Morris International (PMI) employed 161 people to deal with the proposed tobacco products directive (TPD), the main piece of legislation, the European Union, that health campaigners say would save lives.

Philip-Morris-InternationalAccording to the proposals on the ENVI Committee of the Health Committee, which had to be voted on this week in the European Parliament, the tobacco companies will have to include large graphic health warnings on tobacco health products, covering 75 % of the front and back of the packaging. There will also be a ban on all flavored tobacco products – such as menthol, vanilla and strawberry – and cigarettes are thin and thin pack of cigarettes. They are seen as particularly attractive to younger smokers and women, say experts in the field of health. The directive also can lead to e-cigarettes, which are regulated by the pharmaceutical legislation and are sold as medicines; some new entrants to the market are opposed.

On Thursday it was announced that a crucial vote by MEPs were delayed until October 8 , a significant victory for the tobacco lobby . As a result, time is running out to enter the directive until January, when the presidency passes from Lithuania, which is pro – regulation in Greece, which is against tobacco.
“There is not enough time to get the directive passed before this Parliament comes to an end, and the whole process has to start again,” said Deborah Arnott , chief executive of the charity ‘s health Ash.

“It would be good news for the tobacco industry, in its never-ending quest to squeeze profits out of new addicts, but terrible news for children and young people in Europe. ”
Delaying the directive was one of the key objectives of the tobacco lobby. Internal PMI EU public affairs briefings from 2011 and 2012 – marked «private and confidential for internal discussion and illustration purposes only. ” – Indicates that the tobacco giant, which currently operates David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby as a consultant, was determined to break the Directive.

In one slide from August 9, 2012, PMI discusses whether its strategic objective is to “push ” (ie remove items directive ) or to “delay ” it. Company table shows that he used the 161 employees and consultants in lobbying. This shows that in the year to June 2012, lobbyists claim almost £ 1,25 at the cost of their meetings with MEPs . The spreadsheet shows that on June 22 last year , 233 MEPs – 31% of the total – were met PMI at least once. In a separate table lists several MEPs met four or five times. Almost half of the European People’s Party and the center-right European groups met with PMI, lobbyists, the documents show.
Internal slide also shows how the PMI target farmers’ organizations, institutions and retail trade and business associations, to achieve high-level decision-makers in the European Parliament and the European Commission.

There is also evidence that the company has commissioned academic and economic studies to promote their claims.
One slide showed the intention to generate PMI Avis negatives (negative opinion) about the proposals put forward by the EC’s Sanco directorate- the body responsible for ensuring the health and consumer protection.
Another slide explained that PMI is an objective to provide ” that menthol be excluded from the characterizing flavor ban TPD”. PMI said it would not comment on the leak of confidential documents to the observer. Nevertheless, in his statement, he said that he believes that the guidelines were violated. “It depends on the EU set a deadline for the consideration of this legislation, and we hope that these shortcomings will be addressed and that the EU is implementing the regulatory framework that is fair , science-based and makes sense in the light of EU priorities without imposing unnecessary burden on the economy , “said PMI.

Separately, emails, released under the Freedom of Information Act of the Department of Health show that concerns about the guidelines were separated by other tobacco companies.
Earlier this year, the Department feared that Imperial Tobacco was protected information from the Council of Europe working group, which was to help draw up guidelines.

The case raised concerns in Whitehall that the tobacco lobby has been in receipt of confidential information of the market, which raises the question of relations between Brussels and lobbyists.

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