The main issues are the legalisation of snus, regulation of e-cigarettes, graphic warnings, plain packaging and bans on vending machines and tobacco displays—all the things that tobacco controllers have been getting excited about over the past few years, basically.
The snus issue is particularly important (see question below—and note the possibility of banning all smokeless tobacco products!) Click to enlarge.
Of all the suggestions put forward in the EU document, repealing the ill-conceived and scientifically unjustifiable ban on snus is the only one which would have a positive impact on health. The only EU country currently allowed to sell snus is Sweden. Not coincidentally—since snus is 99% safe—Sweden also has the lowest rates of smoking-related diseases.
ASH (UK) will doubtless submit its views to the consultation, but which way will it go? In 2004, an ASH press release said:
ASH believes that there is no logic to the banning of snus, when cigarettes, which are far more deadly, are on general sale, but that snus should not simply be de-regulated.
That was six years ago, however, in the days before ASH developed a cosy financial relationship with pharmaceutical companies who also happen to make 99% safe oral nicotine products of their own. The "independent" anti-smoking charity has been quiet about snus in recent years.
ASH was originally set up, in part, to find ways of making tobacco consumption safer (an aim now wiped from their website). So will they act in the interests of public health or in the interests of the pharmaceutical industry?
You can respond to the online consultation here.
You can read the proposals here.
And everything else is here.
Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline has asked the US government to remove dissolvable tobacco products from the market. No conflict of interest there then.