DOZENS of jobs at a Portsmouth firm have been safeguarded after a vital vote by Euro MPs.
They yesterday voted on how the tobacco industry should be regulated and, crucially, how cigarettes should be packaged.
As reported in The News, Chesapeake Branded Packaging, in Hilsea, manufactures the complex and individually branded cardboard cartons which the European government wanted to see standardised.
The MPs at the European Parliament were asked to vote on revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive, including proposals for health warning pictures on the packets to take up 75 per cent of the space, to remove any rounded or bevelled edges, and much of the other information that differentiates tobacco packets from each other.
The firm said if the proposals were voted through, 67 jobs would be lost at the company’s factory in Limberline Road, and urged the MPs to vote against the proposals.
Yesterday the MPs voted to have the health warnings on 65 per cent of the packaging, rather than 75 per cent, and also rejected the proposals to impose a rigid rectangular shape for the packets.
Bob Houghton, head of communications and marketing for Chesapeake, said: ‘We’re very pleased with the outcome of the vote, which means the tobacco sector doesn’t get further regulated.
‘We’re not expecting any changes [to our operations] as a consequence of this. The packs’ complexity will be maintained, which will also mean they are more difficult to counterfeit.
‘Obviously the MPs have seen sense.
‘It’s a great outcome.’
The Euro MPs also voted to ban packets of 10 cigarettes, saying they should be packaged in a minimum of 20.
They threw out proposals to see electronic cigarettes classed as medical products, which would subject them to hefty regulation.
MEPs rejected a ban on slim cigarettes, but voted to ban menthol flavourings, after a transitional period of eight years.
The new rules could become EU law by 2014.