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In support of World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, The Union calls on governments around the world to prepare to introduce plain packaging – eliminating one of the last marketing platforms available to the tobacco industry.

This World No Tobacco Day, The Union joins international calls for countries to introduce plain tobacco packaging to encourage users to quit and discourage non-users from trying addictive nicotine products. Further, The Union calls for a ‘plain packaging’ approach to e-cigarettes – this burgeoning industry is increasingly owned by tobacco companies renowned for targeting children with powerful marketing campaigns.

In 2009 when Gan Quan began working for The Union in China, few people had heard of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Remarkably, just over six years later, a draft national tobacco control law now has strong political support and will likely be passed by the end of the year – protecting a population of 1.36 billion from the harms of tobacco use.

Axa, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, announced today that it is selling all 1.8 billion euros (£1.3bn/USD2.0bn) of its tobacco industry shares, saying it made no sense to invest in a sector that killed more than six million people each year.

The tobacco industry has suffered another crushing defeat after losing a UK high court battle on the standardised packaging rules due to come into force today (20 May 2016). Plain packs will be the same shape, size and drab brown colour, displaying graphic health warnings across 65 percent of the front and back surfaces and with written warnings down each side. Branding is banned.

The European Court of Justice today ruled that the EU Tobacco Products Directive [TPD] is valid, rejecting the multiple legal challenges it has attracted since its adoption in 2014. The TPD, drawn up to increase protections for public health, will now come into force on 20 May 2016.

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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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