EU confronts tobacco policy contradictions

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 16 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1228

The European Union is being forced to confront contradictions in its policy on tobacco whereby subsidies to encourage production are 60 times greater than those used to try to reduce consumption.

The debate on and the search for a more coherent approach have been sparked off by the social affairs commissioner, Padraig Flynn. He maintains that the contradictions in the union's approach to tobacco fuel considerable public criticism and are used by critics to attack and discredit union policies in other areas.

Union support for production is running at 993m ecu (£684.5m) a year, but less than 15m ecu (£10.3m) is used for programmes designed to reduce smoking, although tobacco related illnesses kill half a million people in the 15 …

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