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Campaign for a revised Tobacco Products Directive in the European Union: lessons learnt
  1. Florence Berteletti1,
  2. Jean King2,
  3. Jennifer Burch3,
  4. Anca Toma Friedlaender1
  1. 1Smoke Free Partnership, 24 Rue de l'Industrie, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 264 Hartington Road, London, UK
  3. 3114 Elborough Street, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Florence Berteletti, Smoke Free Partnership, 24 Rue de l'Industrie, Brussels 1040, Belgium; florence.berteletti{at}

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In 2009, the European Commission (EC) made the decision to revise the outdated 2001 Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). This Directive relates to the subsequently agreed WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Despite introducing several important measures, the 2001 TPD no longer reflected scientific and international developments, and European Union (EU) tobacco control was largely failing to meet its obligations under the WHO FCTC. Securing the TPD in 2014 was a significant success in European tobacco control and will serve to strengthen certain tobacco control policies across all 28 EU Member States (MS) on its implementation in May 2016.

It was a hard-fought battle against one of the most powerful and well-financed lobbies in the EU and its MS, which continued in courts until May 2016 as the tobacco and e-cigarette industries pursued ultimately unsuccessful legal challenges against its provisions. This article will emphasise the importance and limitations of the 2014 TPD, the factors that led to its successful adoption and the key transferable lessons for future tobacco control policy advocacy from the perspective of the Smoke Free Partnership (SFP), which provided leadership and coordination throughout.

Background to the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive

Since the 1980s, there have been legislative initiatives in the EU to curb tobacco use. The main laws governing tobacco control in the EU are the Directives on Tobacco Products, on Tobacco Advertising and on Tobacco Tax. In addition, as the EU is a Party to the FCTC, it has an obligation to comply with this international treaty. The term ‘tobacco control measures’ in this article refers exclusively to the measures under the competence of the TPD unless otherwise specified.

The 2014 TPD, Directive 2014/40/EU, was formally adopted in April 2014 and entered into force on 20 May 2016 across all 28 EU MS.1 Key measures include:

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  • Contributors JK and FB are responsible for the overall content as guarantor and managed the evolution of the article. The article was written and revised by JK, FB, JB and AT. All authors provided substantial information and editorial assistance while drafting the article and have all provided their final approval for its publication.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.