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New EU tobacco legislation is delayed after health commissioner resigns amid claims of knowledge of bribery attempt

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7155 (Published 23 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7155
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

Serious doubt is being cast on the European Commission’s determination to tighten existing tobacco legislation after the unexpected resignation on 16 October of the health commissioner, John Dalli.

The commission’s president, José Manuel Barroso, pressed the Maltese commissioner to resign after an investigation by the European Union’s antifraud office into allegations that he was aware of an attempt at bribery, which Dalli strongly rejects.

The allegations are based on a claim that a Maltese business acquaintance of Dalli asked Swedish Match, which manufactures snus, a tobacco product that is chewed in the mouth and is legal in Sweden but not elsewhere in the EU, for €60m (£49m; $78m) to help get the EU-wide ban …

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