ENSP Fact Sheet #1/2021: New EU Implementing Regulation on environmental markings on Tobacco Products with Plastic Filters (EN)


Responding to increasing public concern about plastic in the seas, the European Commission proposed new3 rules in May 2018 to tackle marine litter at its source, targeting the ten plastic products most often found on European beaches, as well as abandoned fishing gear, which together is estimated to make up 70% of all marine litter. Tobacco filters containing plastic is one of the categories tackled by this Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, which aims to reduce plastic pollution by setting tough new restrictions on certain single-use plastic products.

The new measures take a variety of forms, from a ban for the likes of plastic cotton bud sticks, straws and drink stirrers as well as products made from oxo-de- gradable plastic and certain items made from expanded polystyrene, to measures to reduce the consumption of other single-use plastic products.

Tobacco product filters containing plastic are the second most found single-use plastic items on beaches in the European Union. The huge environmental impact caused by post-consumption waste of tobacco products with filters containing plastic, discarded directly into the environment, needs to be reduced.

In the European Union, a new requirement shall apply from July 3, 2021, to require an environmental message on packages of tobacco products with plastic in filters (this would apply mainly to ciga- rettes, but some cigars, mostly little cigars, and perhaps some other tobacco products).

New regulations on tobacco products with filters will boost the efficiency of the Zero Pollution action plan aiming to increase the prevention, monitoring and accountability on pollution. Tobacco products with plastic filters represent the most found waste on EU beaches and is a part of the majority of all marine litter.

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