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SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed a new package of measures adopted by the European Commission today to tackle the illicit tobacco trade.
This trade is said to cost EU countries around ten billion euros annually in lost revenue. It also undermines efforts to reduce smoking and improve public health.
Mr Hudghton said he was hopeful the package of measures could be used to support the Scottish Government's ambitious target of a tobacco free Scotland by 2034. The measures include greater cross border cooperation between customs authorities to tackle what has become a massive illicit trade. There will also be funding available for authorities in EU countries particularly affected by the problems of tobacco smuggling.
Ian Hudghton commented:
"European level co-operation could prove useful in helping the Scottish Government achieve its targets in reducing the number of people who smoke.
"I welcome these very sensible proposals by the European Commission. Tobacco smuggling not only makes it harder to reduce smoking levels, it also deprives countries of up to 10 billion euros a year in tax revenue.
"This is one area where good co-operation between the Scottish Government and European Commission can be of help in improving public health in Scotland and elsewhere."
For more information on the European proposals see http://europa.eu/rapid/pressrelease_IP-13-512_en.htm