Environment markings for filters entered into force on 3 July 2021
Monday, 05 July 2021
It is high time to beat plastic pollution, including cigarette filters.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. For more than 30 years, cigarette butts have been the single most collected litter across the world’s beaches. Some studies suggest that most people (consumers included) ignore the fact that filters are made of plastic, which will take years to decompose, and in that process harm nature and biodiversity, and also put our health at risk.
Recognising the shocking impact of filters on the environment, the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUP) adopted in 2019, includes requirements for filtered cigarettes and filters marketed for use with tobacco products. That also includes the single use plastic filters used in combination with heated tobacco products.
Article 7 of the SUP requires filters and filtered cigarettes to bear markings in order to inform consumers on appropriate waste disposal means, and on the presence of plastic in the product, and its impact on the environment if not disposed appropriately. Those markings, as per the Implementing Regulation 2020/2151 are mandatory since 3 July 2021. The Smoke Free Partnership participated in the consultation on this act together with environmental organisations.
Other requirements, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and awareness campaigns are not yet enforced, and are discussed at the EU and Member States levels. It is important in this process to respect Article 5.3 of the FCTC and its guidelines to protect public health policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.
If you want to know where your country stands in the implementation of the Single Use Plastics Directive, you can check the online map of Rethink Plastic.
Cigarette butts are a critical example of possible synergies between Public Health and Environment. It is only one possible area out of many in tobacco control where we can complement each other, and work together to extend our scope of action, to ensure a sustainable future for all European citizens.
STOP – The Tobacco Industry and the Environment Brief, 7 July 2021