Employers of Poland are appealing to the Government to oppose the European Commissions’ Directive, which can lead to the loss of ten thousands of working places of tobacco growers, trade representatives and tobacco industry workers in Poland. This appeal was signed by more than 20 thousand of entrepreneurs. For the first time Polish entrepreneurs spoke up about the law created in Brussels. During the press conference at the Polish Press Agency, this appeal was handed to the Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak together with the Green Book on tobacco industry (and its importance to the Polish economy).
- In each case, the EU regulations on tobacco industry require moderation. We must remember that this product is legal and authorized for sale – said Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak. – I hope that the Government will take care of this case. If EU doesn’t want to smoke, let it allow others at least to inhale. The EU restrictions won’t make people quit smoking.
Employers of Poland gathered over 20 thousand statements of traders and tobacco growers from across the country, who expressed firm opposition to the proposed changes with the EU directive on tobacco products. Currently, the European Commission is in the process of the change of 2001/37/WE Directive. Some of these changes are unprecedented and if coming to force, will have a significant and potentially negative impact on tobacco industry products.
- The European commission has just launched the consultation aiming to introduce drastic laws on selling cigarettes only from under the counter; production of black and white packaging, or the prohibition to use flavors in cigarettes’ manufacture – stated the President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski.
Unfortunately, these consultations on restrictions are held only in English and only on the Internet. Therefore, Employers of Poland translated the questionnaire and sent it to the entrepreneurs and growers throughout Poland. – the response from the entrepreneurs has taken us by surprise – during the four-weeks-time we received more than 20 thousand surveys in which businessman and growers expressed their strong opposition to the proposals for new legislation. This is the voice of Polish employers and several thousands of families growing tobacco – Added President Malinowski.
Przemysław Noworyta, Director of the Office of Polish Association of Tobacco Growers pointed out that „New regulations, especially, the prohibition to use flavors in cigarettes’ production is practically cancellation of processing Burley type tobacco, which makes 40% of tobacco industry in Poland.” This would mean a significant reduction of tobacco production in Poland and for more than 14,5 thousand of tobacco family-growers - the loss of the source of their income, mainly from the regions of high unemployment. We can not let farmers lose their jobs”.
New regulations are a threat for approximately 6 thousand people in loosing their job places directly employed in the manufacture of tobacco products. Maciej Skorliński, the Chairman of the Federation of ZZ Tobacco Industry in Poland emphasized that introduction of black and white packaging „will become a paradise for illegal trade and smuggling cross the eastern boarder. Which is easier and cheaper to fake – colorful package or, for example, white and black? Legal package will be three times more expensive than smuggled one, and on top of everything – in one color”. Skorliński stated that smuggling makes more than 16% of the total market and in some region of Poland every second package of cigarettes is smuggled. The representative of the Trade Union called for firm opposition to the Government: „NO” expressed to the idea of European Commission will mean „YES” for several thousand jobs in Poland and also for the revenue budget. Let us not be robbed by smuggling and illegal trade” - said Skorliński.
One of the proposals considered by the European Commission is the prohibition to exposure tobacco products at the place of sale. Waldemar Nowakowski, Chairman of the Polish Chamber of Commerce warned about this solution: „imagine the financial costs for more than 120 thousand sales points, which would be obliged to hide their products under the counter. Here, we are not just talking about big sales points but also about the small stores, for which this financial burden would be unbearable. In other countries such regulations have caused the closing of stores – for example in Island, after the introduction of similar restrictions approximately 30% of small shops had to close down”.