JEAN Lambert, the Green Party MEP for London, backed Cancer Research UK in calling for strong regulation of tobacco products in today’s vote in the European Parliament.
But a centre-right majority in the European Parliament, decided to reject proposals to increase the size of health warnings on tobacco products and ban flavoured cigarettes.
Mass-lobbying by the tobacco industry meant the Greens and others supporting a tough line in the European Parliament lost these important points in a debate over new law aiming to protect people’s health by increasing the regulation of smoking.
Ms Lambert said: “I’m disappointed that the tobacco lobby has won so much support in this latest battle over promoting public health and protecting young people from products aimed at enticing them to begin smoking.
“The tobacco companies lobbying against this piece of legislation are shamelessly trying to protect their profits by blocking new rules that will prolong the lives of thousands of people.”
In the UK 80% of smokers start by the age of 19 and more than 207,000 children, some as young as 11-years-old, start smoking.
She went on to say: “We have a duty to protect the most vulnerable – our children in the UK and right across Europe – from the dangers of tobacco, which causes debilitating disease, and continues to kill 100,000 people in the UK alone every year. 86% of lung cancers are a result of tobacco use.
“I’m disappointed that MEPs from centre-right political parties chose not to follow Greens in rejecting the arguments of the tobacco lobby on more issues.”