Following the announcement of a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes from the European Union, the former German Chancellor and avid smoker Helmut Schmidt is reported to have purchased 200 cartons, around 38,000 (!) menthol cigarettes so that he may continue enjoying one of his favourite pasttimes.

A carton of Reyno Menthols, Schmidt&#39 s brand of choice, can cost around f30.40, meaning that Schmidt&#39 s purchase could easily have run him a bill of over f6,080, or $8,977 USD.

The news comes following reports of an agreed ban on menthol cigarettes as well as the consideration of a ban on e cigarettes and other tobacco products, under the auspices of the Tobacco Directive, which restricts the freedom to smoke, claiming that the European Union is aiming to prevent young people from “starting a smoking habit that kills 700,000 people every year in the EU.”

The main strategy was to ban cigarettes, such as slims and menthols, which are deemed to be either attractive to young people or make it easier for them to start smoking.

However, proposals by the European Commission for a ban on slim cigarettes were not passed.

Schmidt is known to get away with smoking in places he is not supposed to, according to Der Spiegel, which reports that the 94 year old has gotten away with the habit in television studios around, or in, congress halls.

The relevation of Schmidt&#39 s hoarding tactic was made by Peer Steinbruck, the German Social Democratic Party candidate for chancellor. He related the anecdote on Monday at a campaign event in Karlsruhe.

Steinbruck used the anecdote to attack the “intolerable regulatory frenzy” of Brussels. He said “The EU Commission must be dissuaded from trying to regulate everything in detail.”

European ban on non-self-extinguishing cigarettes

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From mid November onwards, all countries of the European Union may only sell “self extinguishing” cigarettes.

With this measure, Europe wants to reduce the number of domestic fires, as is the case in Australia, Canada, Finland and the US where the so called RIP or Reduced Ignition Propensity cigarette is already mandatory. The cigarette extinguishes automatically after a certain lapse of time.
The cigarettes are tested according to a special method, i.e. EN ISO 12863 2010 Standard test method for assessing the ignition propensity of cigarettes .
The text has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union on August 10th, 2011 2011/496/EU.
Fully burning cigarettes will then be difficult to find in Europe. But, how will we then perform the cigarette test on upholstery fabrics? The European standard EN 1021 1 will therefore have to be revised and… what about the British and Irish legislation on seats for private use?

Will certainly be continued …

Information Pros Van Hoeyland pvh at centexbel dot be